Arlington, Va. – In an official statement in conjunction with a congressional hearing on medication therapy management (MTM), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) emphasized the value of pharmacist-provided MTM services in an effort to improve medication adherence, patient health and healthcare affordability for Medicare beneficiaries.

Pharmacist-provided services such as MTM are important tools in the effort to improve medication adherence, patient health and healthcare affordability.

NACDS submitted a statement to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health for its hearing today titled “Examining the Medicare Part D Medication Therapy Management Program.”

In its comments, NACDS emphasized mounting evidence of the positive impact of MTM on patient health.  Studies conducted by entities including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Congressional Budget Office, and the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee show – among other results – that improved medication use leads to better health outcomes for patients, including reduced mortality; the reliance on fewer healthcare services, such as hospital readmissions and emergency room visits; and more cost-effective treatment of chronic conditions.

“Poor medication adherence costs the U.S. healthcare system $290 billion annually,” NACDS wrote in its statement.  “Pharmacist-provided services such as MTM are important tools in the effort to improve medication adherence, patient health and healthcare affordability.”

In its comments, NACDS expressed support for bipartisan legislation introduced earlier this year by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) which would help patients with specific chronic conditions receive these MTM services.  Specifically, S. 776, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2015 would provide access to MTM for Medicare Part D patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD and cholesterol.

“Reforming the Medicare Part D program should be accomplished through efficiently targeting beneficiaries who can most benefit from the services that will improve medication adherence and overall program effectiveness,” NACDS wrote in its comments. “We urge Congress to build on this earlier action and strengthen the MTM benefit in Medicare Part D.”

CMS recently announced an initiative to conduct a pilot program allowing Part D plans the opportunity to utilize new and innovative approaches to MTM. In its statement, NACDS acknowledged this an important opportunity to create a better alignment of program incentives for Part D prescription drug plans, prescribers, pharmacies and CMS and has the potential to lead to improved patient access to MTM services, which can lead to greater medication adherence.

In addition, NACDS reaffirmed its support of H.R. 592, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which would allow pharmacists to work to their full capabilities by providing Medicare Part B patients with pharmacy services – such as immunizations or disease screenings – not currently reaching them (subject to state scope of practice laws).

“Nearly all Americans (89 percent) live within five miles of a community retail pharmacy.

And to that end are uniquely positioned to provide access to medications and cost-effective health services such as immunizations and disease screenings, pharmacists are highly-educated and trained to help patients take their medications as prescribed,” NACDS wrote in its comments.

During today’s hearing, NACDS member company Rite Aid Corporation delivered testimony on the value of MTM in improving the quality and affordability of healthcare services for patients.