The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), in a lengthy study aimed at discovering and developing ways for patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives, concluded that successful treatment of disease with prescription medicines requires consistent use of the medicines as prescribed.
The cost of medication non-adherence is significant in terms of loss of life and monetary costs. According to the CDC, 20 to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled, and in about 50 percent of cases, medication is not continued as prescribed.
Cost may be the biggest barrier to medication adherence, according to pharmacists. Numerous studies have found as many as three of four Americans don’t take medications as prescribed. A recent survey by CVS Caremark of more than 2,400 of its retail pharmacists revealed that 62 percent believe the high cost of drugs is the biggest reason why. The pharmacists estimated that, during the course of a year, nearly one third of their customers decide not to fill a prescription due to price.
The use of e-prescribing can improve patients’ adherence to prescription medications. It also facilitates better communications between patients, physicians and pharmacists.
E-prescribing is moving to the forefront of healthcare IT thanks to the benefits it brings to patients, physician workflow efficiency, and pharmacies. In fact, 90 percent of pharmacies in the United States now accept electronic prescriptions and 70 percent of physicians use e-prescribing, according to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT. With this level of adoption, the industry is well on its way toward enjoying the patient safety, efficiency and cost savings benefits associated with e-prescribing.
A recent article in the Specialty Pharmacy Times stated that medication adherence is a constant struggle for pharmacists, especially those treating patients with conditions that require high-touch, high-cost specialty drugs. Missing just a single dose of medication may cause adverse health events or cost additional dollars spent on these patients. Preventing adverse events and extra costs are an important goal of specialty pharmacists.
Medication adherence is a crucial component in the treatment of chronic diseases. In the elderly, clinicians are faced with a unique set of problems associated with adherence for which they may not be adequately trained. The different factors affecting medication adherence in the elderly are many: patient, medication, health care providers, healthcare system, and socioeconomic factors.
Lack of medication adherence has a significant cost associated with it, as well as causing adverse healthcare outcomes.
Medical costs are rising and so are prescription costs. Statistics show that 50% of Americans do not pick up their medication, and of the 50% that do pick up their meds, do not refill their medications after 3 months.
It can be easy to save money on medicine. Experts say following doctors' orders can save more than lives; it can save a health care system spiraling out of control.
"One of the key factors in rising health care costs is the failure of patients taking their medications correctly, and ending up in the ER due to the failed management of their disease processes." says Dr. Azeem Pasha, ER Physician. "Not following a prescribed regimen means it takes longer to get well-which has economic as well as physical costs. But more problematically, it can lead to long-term health problems that require more medications and hospitalization."
Magic bullet solutions to controlling drug costs, such as importation, are counterproductive, because they ruin the incentive of drug companies to innovate new lifesaving medicines by draining their research and development budgets. Not to mention quality control cannot be measured for drugs being shipped internationally. Packaging, temperature control and dosing can vary country to country.
"Many people don't realize that drug companies, not the government, bear the majority of the costs and risks of developing new medicines," says Christopher Viehbacher, former CEO of Sanofi. "The vast majority of new medicines are discovered and developed by the pharmaceutical industry, which invests more than four times more in R&D than the average industry does."
In fact, controlling health care costs is a long-term challenge with no easy solution. However, patients are a key part of the equation.
First, patients must gain a deeper appreciation for the role and importance of medicine to their overall well-being. In Missouri, Former Governor Matt Blunt signed a proclamation declaring September "Value of Medicines Awareness Month."
In addition, the Missouri Pharmacy Association, have launched a campaigns to educate consumers on how they can control health care costs by following their prescribed treatment regimen and exploring the many options for saving on their prescriptions.
"Taking medication properly is a win-win for patients and for society," says Dr. Pasha. "Patients' compliance with their prescribed drug regimens will lead to healthier, more productive lives. It's also a preventive measure against the type of long-term health complications that drive up health care costs for everybody. A healthier society translates into fewer long-term demands on the health care system."
Following doctors' orders saves you money!
In the past decade, we've heard a lot about the healthcare reform and plans to curb rising costs in the industry. Among the myriad of healthcare costs that exist today, prescription drugs play a big role. The CDC estimates prescription drugs make up 10% of national healthcare spending, or $300 billion dollars per year. If even a small fraction of these costs can be cut by modern technology and realigned health priorities, enormous savings can be realized by providers, payers, and vendors alike.
e-prescribing is being increasingly appreciated as a lucrative and socially beneficial means to lowering drug costs. By facilitating electronic prescription fulfillment and greatly eliminating human error, patient health and satisfaction improve, all while saving much time and money for all parties involved. A recent research paper estimates projected savings of up to $240 billion over 10 years through e-prescribing implementation.
The benefits are clear, and people are listening. The very first adoptees trickled into e-prescribing back in 2006 and steadily grew, with e-prescriptions numbering in the millions by 2010. Those numbers have soared in recent years, with over a billion electronic prescriptions in 2014. Despite the majority of pharmacies supporting the change, however, providers lag behind in adoption. Many remain concerned about issues like provider support and patient privacy.
Fortunately, the future looks promising. eazyScripts is bridging the gap between the e-prescribing tools pharmacies want, and the secure, reliable frameworks providers need. With point-of-care drug and pharmacy data, fully-secured health records, and customizable integration, providers can take advantage of valuable tech options to improve patient outcomes and meet all their particular needs. If you, like many others, are seeking an easy-to-use E-Prescribing service, look no further than eazyScripts.