SPPAN supports legislation that would:
The cost of treating chronic illnesses is a major driver of rising overall health care costs. For many people with a chronic illness, medications are the most cost-effective treatment. However, patients often miss doses, fail to refill prescriptions on time, and even stop taking their medications without consulting a health care professional. The economic costs associated with medication non-adherence are estimated at $290 billion each year.
The use of medication synchronization is gaining in popularity as a way to improve adherence by patients who are on a regular medication regimen. To coordinate the patient’s recurring medications, the pharmacist performs a comprehensive review of the patient’s medication regimen to determine the appropriateness of each therapy. After the initial review, the pharmacist calls the patient each month, before filling the new prescriptions, to ensure that no changes have been made and to confirm that the patient is still taking the medication. This model improves adherence, resulting in healthier patients and a cost reduction to patients, insurers, and the healthcare system as a whole.
Though there are many benefits of synchronization, patients and pharmacies face several challenges when trying to synchronize all of a patient’s prescriptions.
Progress Being Made; More Can Be Done
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the nation’s largest payer for health care, is implementing several policy changes that will help remove current barriers to the medication synchronization process, reduce waste from unnecessary fills, and ensure that beneficiaries receive only the medications they need. Medicare Part D sponsors are now required to apply a daily cost-sharing rate to most prescriptions dispensed for less than a 30-day supply. This provides a common sense approach when patients are trying a new therapy or are attempting to synchronize their refills. Legislation or regulation at the state level could help remove other payers’ existing barriers and encourage the use of medication synchronization programs.
(SPPAN attributes the majority of the content on this page to one of SPPAN's partners, the National Community Pharmacists Association.)