Medication use report card gives Americans a C+ on adherence

July 1, 2013

There was both bad and good news from the National Community Pharmacists Association’s (NCPA) national medication adherence report card survey results released recently.

 

There was both bad and good news from the National Community Pharmacists Association’s (NCPA) national medication adherence report card survey results released recently.

The “Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card” survey found that Americans earn a C+ on medication adherence, and one-third received a D or an F. Langer Research Associates interviewed more than 1,000 Americans who are 40 years and older with at least 1 chronic condition. The most prevalent chronic conditions were high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which patients had for 2 years or more.

“Anything less than an ‘A’ on medication adherence is very concerning,” said Douglas Hoey, RPh, CEO of NCPA, on a media call launching the report. Complications from non-adherence are costing the US healthcare system $500 billion in annual costs, Hoey said, citing IMS Health’s recent report on the topic.

The good news from the survey is the important role that pharmacists play in improving medication adherence. Langer Research found that the biggest predictor of medication adherence was patients’ personal connection (or lack thereof) with a pharmacist or pharmacy staff. 

Patients of independent community pharmacies reported the highest level of personal connection (89%), followed by large chains (67%) and mail order (36%). “They [survey respondents] were more than 200% more likely to say their pharmacist knows them better than their mail order pharmacy,” Hoey said.

To improve adherence, Hoey and NCPA are urging Congress to implement the Medication Therapy Management Act. “This legislation would expand seniors’ access to medication in the Medicare Part D program without costing the government a dime,” Hoey said. In addition, states should adopt legislation giving patients a choice in pharmacy services, instead of mandating mail order plans.

In addition, payers should encourage greater adoption of medication synchronization services, in which consumers can schedule a time to pick up all of their medications at one time, according to Hoey. “Payment policies that restrict pharmacy medication synchronization services are short-sighted and undermine more coordinated care efforts,” Hoey said,

View the full report and related documents at http://www.ncpanet.org/index.php/report-card