Pharmacists from across the nation will converge in Washington D.C. on April 11 and 12 for the annual NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Summit. It’s a great opportunity to be an advocate for both independent pharmacy and for your patients.
We know the challenges of a prescription delivery market that is so heavily controlled by the PBMs. They determine which pharmacies are included in prescription benefit plans, how much they will be paid, and which drugs will be included in formularies. For independent pharmacies, PBMs are a particular threat: often, they try to persuade insurers to push patients to mail-order pharmacies or to pharmacies owned by the PBM itself—which would seem to be a clear (and actionable) conflict of interest in any other business. Limited networks, typically favoring chains, put patients in rural areas at a disadvantage, sometimes forcing them to drive many miles to access an in-network pharmacy.
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Although its motive may not be wholly altruistic, big pharma is certainly joining in with other health care stakeholders in pushing adherence hard. What was once a packaging play and one-on-one health counselling, commonly practiced in many pharmacies, has evolved into mobile apps and beyond, into the potential for “smart pill” technology and smart inhalers, STAT news reports. This Australian team digs deep into studies of the why/why not on adherence in hematological cancer patients—maybe you’ll find some interesting nuggets—and adherence is a well-loved touchpoint in conversations about quality measures and initiatives catalogued by CMS. In December, the leader in AmerisourceBergen’s performance strategies group shared a nice piece on tips for promoting adherence among patients that’s worth a read. Number eight on that list, “synchronize medications,” is one that our own pharmacies have been highly focused on over the past year or so. Check out some of what we’ve learned on setting up a med sync program.
Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:
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