NACDS-Funded Review Delves into Medication Adherence

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) has funded a review of the research on the patient-health benefits of improved medication adherence. “The Role of Medication Adherence in the U.S. Healthcare System” focuses on research into the connection between medication adherence, health outcomes and healthcare system spending, NACDS reported in a press release. It also reviews research on barriers to medication adherence and on examples of initiatives to help improve it.

“To improve patient outcomes and reduce the financial burden on the healthcare system, policymakers and other healthcare stakeholders should support measures that encourage greater engagement and education with patients to demonstrate the importance of proper medication use,” concluded the report, which was prepared independently by Avalere Health and funded by NACDS.

“When patients struggle to obtain and use medications appropriately, they may limit a drug’s effectiveness, experience poor health outcomes as a result, and raise the overall cost of care in the United States,” the report stated. “For example, recent research has shown that 1) taking drugs as prescribed lowers total healthcare costs by an amount that exceeds the costs of the drugs themselves (Roebuck et al. 2011), and 2) lower spending on prescription drugs may be offset by higher medical services costs (Gaynor et al. 2007).”

The review states that “the body of evidence on the cost-effectiveness of medication adherence has begun to influence policy,” as evidenced by the Congressional Budget Office’s move in 2012 to associate a reduction in Medicare’s medical service spending when the number of prescriptions filled increases, the release states. "This is the first time the government’s non-partisan legislative scoring agency has credited greater usage of medications with saving healthcare costs, generally, as part of their guidance,” the review stated.

NACDS had endorsed bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S. 557) and in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1024) – the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act – which would improve access to MTM services for senior citizens enrolled in the Medicare Part D program, NACDS states. The review prepared by Avalere Health pointed out findings related to the effectiveness of pharmacist-led medication therapy management (MTM). It also noted the importance of comprehensive medication reviews (CMR), an aspect of MTM in which the pharmacist reviews each individual drug and helps the patient take them appropriately to avoid adverse reactions and to maximize outcomes.

For more details, visit www.nacds.org.

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