NACDS, NCPA Endorse Senate Legislation to Help Improve Patient Health, Lower Healthcare Costs

Sen. Hagan introduces Medication Therapy Management Bill

Senators Franken, Brown and Johnson Support Bill as Original Cosponsors

Alexandria, Va. - Feb. 3, 2011

Alexandria, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) announced their strong endorsement for the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011 introduced by Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) today. Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) are original cosponsors of this important legislation.

MTM is a professional service offered by pharmacists and other qualified health practitioners that helps ensure medications are taken appropriately, thus preventing higher-cost and preventable forms of treatment. Congress created the MTM benefit under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 for Medicare beneficiaries by requiring MTM services for patients on multiple medications suffering from chronic conditions or diseases.

"NACDS appreciates the leadership and commitment of Senator Hagan and the support of Senators Franken, Brown and Johnson in introducing this pro-patient, pro-pharmacy bill today," said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. "Neighborhood pharmacies can provide MTM services to help patients manage their health, especially for those patients who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma or other conditions. This commonsense legislation can help patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed, which can lead to improved health as well as lowering their healthcare costs."

"Patients rely on their trusted, community pharmacists for expert medication counseling and cost-saving services. Nowhere is that truer than with MTM," said NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO Kathleen Jaeger. "With health care expenses rising and our country's changing demographics, cost-effective services like MTM are needed now more than ever. We commend these Senators for their leadership in introducing this legislation, just weeks into the 112th Congress. We encourage all Senators and Representatives to back this legislation and look forward to the grassroots engagement of patients and local pharmacists in support of this bill."

Only 50 percent of Americans follow 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.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies – from regional chains with four stores to national companies. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 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 $830 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $1.96 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $1.57 trillion, equal to 11 percent of GDP. NACDS represents 137 chains that operate these pharmacies in neighborhoods across America, and NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and consumer packaged goods suppliers and service providers, and over 60 international members from 23 countries. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.

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, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% 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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