How to Increase Patient Compliance

Miracles of modern medicine have been made possible through the development of prescription drugs that help cure, or at least manage, the symptoms of serious diseases and chronic conditions. However, if patient compliance is lacking, such as failing to regularly fill prescriptions, delaying refills, or going off their medications, patients are not receiving the full benefit of their needed medications.

Why Medication Non-Compliance is So Common

The reasons for lack of compliance are often not completely intentional on the part of the patient. There can be mitigating factors, including:

  • Cost of medication. The patient may not be able to afford co-pays or in some cases, he or she may be required to pay the full cost of the medication, especially if it is not on their insurance carrier’s formulary or if it’s a higher tier medication.
  • Forgetting to refill prescriptions. If memory issues are a problem or the patient is too busy to remember, it’s easy to forget to refill prescriptions. The patient may not remember to initiate a refill until he or she has run out of medication, and if that particular medication is not in stock or is through mail order, they might be without medication for several days.
  • Having to take numerous medications. Managing multiple prescriptions presents challenges. Patients who have difficulty swallowing pills, who suffer side effects, or who enjoy no immediate benefits might find it a burden to regularly take medications.
  • Lack of information. A patient could be unaware of the importance of why they need to take medications as prescribed.

How to Increase Patient Medication Compliance

AlphaScrip offers various programs that can help increase patient compliance with taking prescription medications, including:

  • Starter voucher/co-pay discount card programs
  • Compounding services
  • Automatic refill reminders
  • Direct to patient offerings
  • Patient education and assistance programs

Learn more about how AlphaScrip can help increase your rates of patient compliance.

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Guide to Pharma Patents

In the United States, patents are commonly issued for twenty years. This includes patents that are obtained by pharmaceutical companies for new drugs. However, because companies apply for patents before clinical trials begin to test the safety and efficacy of drugs, the effective patent period is often between seven to twelve years after FDA approval.

What Happens After FDA Approval?

During the time remaining in the patent period, the FDA-approved drug is sold under the brand name that its company has given it. The drug is patent protected; therefore only the pharmaceutical company holding the patent can manufacture, market, and profit from it.

What Happens When a Drug Patent Expires

Once the patent on a drug expires, it can be manufactured and sold by other pharmaceutical companies. It is then referred to as a generic drug. However, as required by the FDA, these generic drugs must be identical to the original branded drug according to its safety, efficacy, usage, administration, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics.

Effect of Patent Expiration on Pharmaceutical Companies

The problem for the pharmaceutical company that held the patent is that once it has expired, they could lose up to 80 percent of sales to their new competitors who are selling the generic version of their drug. Competitors can offer generic drugs at a lower price because they don’t have to invest in so much research and development.

While it is possible for drug companies to attempt extending the patent through litigation, this is not always successful and leads to court battles with generic companies. It also tends to slow medical innovation as focus is taken away from making new medicines.

However, there are steps that pharmaceutical companies can take to slow the loss of sales. Building brand loyalty through marketing efforts to maintain brand awareness can help retain customers. Learn more about how AlphaScrip’s programs can help keep your brand on top of the competition after patent expiration.

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Should Pharmacists Be More Involved in Patient Care?

The answer would be yes, according to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Services that was funded by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). As budgets are in decline for public health resources, pharmacies can be leveraged as a community resource to advance community-based health priorities. Teaming up pharmacists with other health professionals can have a positive effect on patient outcomes while reducing health care costs.

Pharmacists can play a bigger role within their community with such issues as combating the epidemic of opioid abuse, preventing antibiotic resistance and having plans in the event of emergencies like bioterror attacks.

Fighting Opioid Abuse

Reform is needed to lift restrictions on the role of pharmacies with opioid abuse education and intervention. Currently, only 23 states allow the purchase of naloxone at pharmacies without a prescription. Working with public health organizations, pharmacists can help reduce the number of new addictions, as well as facilitating treatment for addiction and overdose.

Preventing Antibiotic Resistance

All too often antibiotics are over prescribed, which leads to antibiotic resistance. If implemented, statewide protocols could allow for pharmacists to test for viral infections before dispensing antibiotic prescriptions that are ineffective for treating viruses.

Planning Emergency Response

With some pharmacies already offering vaccinations, protocols can be extended in response to flu pandemics or bioterror attacks. Such protocols will integrate pharmacists as an important resource to health emergency response for underserved or displaced populations for access to basic care.

What do you think? Do you agree that pharmacists should be more involved in patient care?

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