Thursday, May 28, 2009

NCPO: Medication and Counseling Vital for Healthcare Reform, Implementation and Future Patient Care Improvements

Improving patients' adherence to medications would improve lives, reduce costs

From Reform to Revolution: Maximizing the Power of Proper Medication Use in Patient Care

Washington, D.C. (Vocus/PRWEB ) May 28, 2009 -- In a policy statement released today, the National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO) called on Congress and the Administration to reap the full benefits of medications and medication counseling as they develop healthcare reform legislation and other policies.

The statement, titled "From Reform to Revolution: Maximizing the Power of Proper Medication Use in Patient Care," reflects a cohesive voice for associations in the pharmaceutical and pharmacy value chain. NCPO serves as a forum for the leadership of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

"The use of prescription and over-the-counter medications fills an important role in meeting the public's healthcare needs," NCPO wrote in its policy statement. "We believe policymakers must consider the importance of access to medication therapy and appropriate counseling on the use of medications when developing health system reforms - including legislation, subsequent implementing regulations and future improvements."

"Providing access to prescription and over-the-counter medications, through a coordinated care approach involving the pharmacist working in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare providers, should be a central piece of any health reform agenda."

The policy statement described several statistics, including the estimated $177 billion in annual direct and indirect costs that result from poor medication adherence. "Poor adherence, particularly in the case of those with chronic diseases, leads to unnecessary disease progression, reduced functional status, a lower quality of life and premature death. These consequences of nonadherence to medications translate into increased usage of costly healthcare services, such as emergency department visits and hospitalizations," NCPO said.

NCPO recommended the following components of healthcare reform:

  • Every American should have access to the most appropriate clinically effective medications, whether they are available as a generic, brand or over-the-counter medication, as well as counseling on proper medication use and the importance of adherence to medication.

  • National goals for the improvement of health care quality should include evaluating provider performance through measurement, public reporting of quality measures, and providing incentives for improving patient outcomes.

  • Health systems focused on coordinated care should be available to all patients, with access to a care coordinator who can help them manage their health effectively and ensure compliance with prescription drug therapy.

  • Fair reimbursement to health care providers should include costs related to dispensing medications and pharmacist-provided care, such as medication therapy management (MTM). Providing services such as MTM is especially important to patients with chronic disease since chronic diseases are the number one cause of death and disability in the U.S. and treating patients with chronic conditions accounts for 75 percent of the nation's health care spending.

  • Health information technology, including electronic prescribing and electronic medical records, should be incorporated and used appropriately by providers to improve patient health outcomes, coordinate patient care, and aid in appropriate health research.

  • Preventive services such as healthcare screenings and immunizations, medication therapy management and disease management should be covered and promoted through outreach and education for optimal utilization.

  • Behaviors that promote health and wellness should be encouraged.

The National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO) brings together the associations that represent those directly involved in patient care utilizing vital medications. The associations engaged in this collaborative forum include those focused on medication discovery, manufacturing and distribution, and those focused on pharmacy practice, education and oversight. Together, they foster advancements in the contributions of medications and pharmacists to society.

Chrissy Kopple (NACDS)
(703) 837-4266

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