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NACDS, NCPA Back Senate Medication Therapy Management Bill
Date:6/29/2010

Senator Hagan's legislation would help pharmacists help patients, prevent more costly forms of care

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Building on the passage of pharmacy-specific provisions in the new healthcare reform law, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) announced their strong endorsement of the Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010, authored and introduced by U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) today.  Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is an original cosponsor of the bill.

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The bill aims to enhance pharmacist-provided medication therapy management (MTM) services – first codified into law in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 – for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries by opening MTM services to patients suffering with any chronic condition or disease.

"NACDS appreciates the leadership of Senator Hagan in advancing this cost-effective and proven pharmacy service," said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.  "By encouraging MTM services in neighborhood pharmacies, the bill would improve public health and reduce healthcare costs by helping patients to take their medications in the right ways and avoid complications with their drug therapies. Patients suffering from chronic disease, be it diabetes, hypertension, asthma or other conditions, will benefit from these pharmacy services, which also strengthen the pharmacist-patient relationship.  We thank Senators Hagan and Franken for their commitment to improving healthcare in a way that stands to reduce costs and improve lives."

Only 50 percent of Americans stay on their prescription drug regimen, which is referred to within healthcare as "medication adherence."  A July 2009 report by the New England Health Institute estimated that the overall cost of poor medication adherence, measured in otherwise avoidable medical spending, is as much as $290 billion per year, or 13 percent of total healthcare expenditures.  These costs include increased hospitalizations, doctor and emergency room visits, and factors related to preventable disease progression.  MTM permits pharmacists to work with patients to review, monitor and identify problems with a patient's medications, and to coordinate with a physician to resolve any problems.

"There is a treasure trove of compelling evidence about the effectiveness of MTM services, which is why NCPA and its members strongly support this bill," said Douglas Hoey, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association Acting Executive Vice President and CEO. "For many Medicare Part D patients, the challenges of coping with numerous chronic conditions and diseases require an expert's consultation, and pharmacists are clinically-trained in helping ensure their patients are getting the best possible results. The bill offered by Senators Hagan and Franken is the next logical step in broadening the reach of MTM. NCPA urges the Senate to move expeditiously to pass this bill, because true health care reform needs to incorporate all the best practices."  

While there are many studies that have focused on MTM, one program with 186 patients through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota found reductions in healthcare costs per person of 31.5%.  The return on investment was $12.15 per $1.00 of MTM services provided.

The bill is the Senate's companion to H.R. 3108, the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) last year, and endorsed by NACDS and NCPA.  

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 www.NACDS.org.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.


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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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