The Pharmacist’s Increasing Role in Moving Toward Greater Quality Care in a More Cost Effective Manner

By: Paul DeMuro

One cannot help but read or hear about how the costs of drugs are going up and are becoming a greater percentage of the costs of treating patients. Many reasons are cited, including the greater costs of research and development for pharmaceutical companies, greater regulation, drug companies deciding to raise the prices of certain drugs because they believe they can do so, and direct to consumer (DTC) advertising making patients more aware of certain drugs that they might ask their clinicians to prescribe. In addition, pharmaceutical companies have been accused of paying other companies to keep their products from becoming generics or just paying them to delay introducing or marketing other drugs. Individuals seem to have more chronic diseases, more comorbidities and are taking a greater number of drugs. These more complicated patients seem to cost more to treat and often the costs and number of drugs are seen as a significant factor in the overall cost of healthcare.

The state of Vermont has responded by passing a law making drug makers justify their price increases. The Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe is considering pricing drugs to reward companies for the clinical benefit of the treatment. The Part D Medicare program is introducing an Enhanced Medication Therapy Management Program for 2017.

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