Another vote for team care

February 15, 2010

Medication therapy management interventions by community pharmacists reduced prescription drug costs by $35 per month on average.

A study published in the November/December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that MTM interventions by community pharmacists reduced prescription drug costs by $35 per month on average, or $420 per year per patient.

"These pharmacists were able to help patients reduce their prescription drug costs by working with physicians and patients to end duplicative therapies, promote the use of less expensive generic drugs, and make other changes to the patient's medication regimen for safety and cost reasons," said Devin Stone, associate director, healthcare economist for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Conducted by the Mirixa Corporation, which was created by NCPA in 2006 to help pharmacists provide patients with better MTM, the study involved U.S. patients who qualified between May 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, for MTM services in three modalities: community pharmacies, pharmacist-staffed call centers, and educational mailings.

As a result of the study, NCPA is recommending that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) promote the use of MTM provided by community pharmacists rather than use of call-center pharmacists and educational mailings stipulated by some PBM programs.

"Disparities in savings potential should alarm health plans mandating or incentivizing patients to use mail-order pharmacy. Patient freedom to choose a preferred pharmacy must be preserved ... so that patients can make the most use of their medications," Stone said.