Alexandria, Va. - Nov. 30, 2012
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a new analysis essentially finding that greater prescription drug access and utilization can reduce health care costs in other areas, such as hospitalizations. In response, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement:
"We commend CBO for acknowledging the growing body of evidence verifying what community pharmacists have known for some time. Namely, that the more patients have their prescriptions filled and adhere to medications their doctors prescribe, the healthier they will be and the likelihood of costlier interventions including hospitalizations diminishes—reducing health care costs.
"For years, community pharmacists have been reducing costs in the Medicare program, particularly with the launch of the Part D drug benefit. Local pharmacists can maximize the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and help ensure patients understand the importance of taking their medication in accordance with doctor's orders.
"Prescription medications are a tremendous value to U.S. health care—especially in the management of chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. When medications are taken and used appropriately, hospitalizations can be reduced and billions of dollars can be saved.
"In another sense, CBO's new analysis represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of the savings independent community pharmacists can produce for Medicare and other health plans. CBO examined only the quantity of prescriptions filled, not the qualitative benefits of strong patient-pharmacist relationships in helping patients take their medication appropriately. For years, private research has documented both patients' preference for their local community pharmacy as well as the cost-savings potential of face-to-face pharmacist-patient consultations to maximize the health benefits of prescription drugs.
"NCPA and its members look forward to working with CBO, policymakers and health plans to increase awareness of the cost-saving role of appropriately used prescription medications and community pharmacists and to expand the full utilization of these highly trained health professionals."
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40 percent of all retail prescriptions, and employ 300,000 people, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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