The New York Times reported this week on an “out of control epidemic” in the U.S. that costs more and affects more people in the U.S. than any disease Americans are concerned about right now—and it is 100 percent preventable. The culprit? Medication non-adherence. A review in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates that a lack of adherence causes nearly 125,000 deaths, 10 percent of hospitalizations and costs the already strained healthcare system between $100–$289 billion a year.

The article points to findings from studies NACDS has often referenced in advocacy efforts to improve medication adherence—including that 20–30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled and approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed.
Significantly, the study authors found the strongest evidence yet that improved medication adherence was accompanied by pharmacist-led high blood pressure management. In addition, the study showed that “education with behavioral support; reminders; and pharmacist-led, multicomponent interventions enhanced adherence…”

NACDS continues to advocate for issues that support pharmacist-provided services that improve medication adherence. Most recently, NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association urged Congress not to increase TRICARE beneficiary copayments, which unfairly penalize TRICARE beneficiaries who prefer to use local pharmacies.

NACDS and NCPA noted that restricting beneficiary access and raising copay amounts can have the unintended effect of reducing medication adherence. The organizations instead urged Congress to support the implementation of the “Pilot Program for Prescription Drug Acquisition Cost Parity in the TRICARE Pharmacy Benefits Program,” which was included in the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act and has the potential to reduce costs while also restoring TRICARE patient access to medications and services from their neighborhood pharmacies.