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New England Journal of Medicine Article Trumpets “Priority” Status of Helping Patients Take Medications Correctly

NACDS highlights pledge that pharmacy will own the issue of “medication adherence.”

Alexandria, VA (Vocus) April 10, 2010 -- An article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine by two healthcare policy opinion leaders is fueling the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ (NACDS) message that pharmacy’s role in helping patients take medications correctly is key to improving lives and reducing long-term healthcare costs.

David M. Cutler, Ph.D., a professor of economics at Harvard University who was senior healthcare advisor to President Obama’s presidential campaign, and Wendy Everett, Sc.D., president of the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI), authored the article, “Thinking Outside the Pillbox – Medication Adherence as a Priority for Health Care Reform.” Published in the April 7, 2010, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, Drs. Cutler and Everett note that more than $100 billion is spent each year on avoidable hospitalizations. That is one aspect of an even larger problem, as NEHI announced in July 2009 its estimate that poor medication adherence leads to $290 billion in total annual costs, or 13 percent of all healthcare expenditures.

“Poor adherence to treatment regimens has long been recognized as a substantial roadblock to achieving better outcomes for patients,” Drs. Cutler and Everett wrote. “We’ve known for some time that improved adherence can lead to improvements in health outcomes and reductions in health care spending.”

This article supports NACDS’ campaign to raise awareness of pharmacy’s role in boosting medication adherence, reducing healthcare costs and improving lives.    

“Pharmacy plays a critical role in helping patients take the right medications and take them correctly,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “As the face of neighborhood healthcare, pharmacists are uniquely qualified to help patients understand the importance of following their medication regimens properly. Working together, pharmacists and patients can improve healthcare for individuals and for the system overall through reduced costs.”

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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents 154 traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies – from regional chains with four stores to national companies. NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and front-end suppliers, and over 70 international members from 24 countries. Chains operate 37,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.5 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill more than 2.5 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States. The total economic impact of all retail stores with pharmacies transcends their $815 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $3.82 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $3.11 trillion, equal to 26 percent of GDP. For more information about NACDS, visit

Contact: Chrissy Kopple
(703) 837-4266


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