New Study Finds Pharmacists and Nurses are the Most Effective Health Care ‘Voices’ in Promoting Medication Adherence

This headline “New Study Finds Pharmacists and Nurses are the Most Effective Health Care ‘Voices’ in Promoting Medication Adherence” was trumpeted in the recent CVS news release. The researchers concluded: The highest impact programs featured work by pharmacists talking to patients in a store, followed by nurses talking face-to-face with patients who were leaving a … Continue reading

Improving patient adherence saves money

The news headline says it all: CVS Caremark Study Finds Medication Adherence Leads to Lower Health Care Costs, Even After Accounting for Increased Prescription Drug Spending. The study analyzed pharmacy and medical claims data of 135,000 patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia to determine the direct effect of adherence on costs. The … Continue reading

Patients and doctors not the only ones hurt by prior authorizations

Apparently prior authorizations may not just be hurting physicians and denying physician-recommended treatment to their patients. A blog posted by the Redheaded Pharmacist (a retail pharmacist who is redheaded) pointed out that prior authorizations are causing retail pharmacists to spend more time and do more paperwork for prior authorizations and that the PA’s were for … Continue reading

The true costs of prior authorizations

At a recent meeting, I was just pondering whether prior authorizations really save insurance companies money. As defined by, “prior authorizations” are a cost-containment procedure that requires a prescriber to obtain permission to prescibe a medication prior to prescribing it” [my emphasis]. Insurance practices, like prior authorizations, clearly cost physicians money in terms of the amount … Continue reading

Branded Drugs Hold No Consumer Loyalty

Why is it that branded drugs hold no consumer loyalty? Oh, sure, people know some drug brands, like Viagara and Pavix. But, as soon as a branded drugs comes off patent, consumers storm towards the generic. The initial generic drug to enter the market is usually priced at 75% of that of its branded competitior … Continue reading

Drug firms fund health advocacy groups

According to a new report recently published by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, many health advocacy organizations rely on financial support from drug companies, but few disclose the extent of that funding or make information easily accessible. The unsaid (but, I would suggest clearly intended) suggestion is that the named advocacy groups … Continue reading

Information Not Enough to Change Behavior

A study conducted by Scripps researchers and published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found that direct-to-consumer genetic testing did not result in any measurable short-term changes in psychological health, diet or exercise behavior, or use of screening tests.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me. When I worked on smoking cessation, it wasn’t enough to just … Continue reading

FDA & Internet Guidelines – Up the Creek Without a Paddle

When it comes to waiting for FDA guidance on internet, we are perhaps like this dog in the canoe — up the creek without a paddle.  Hopefully waiting and oblivious to what awaits us downstream. After all, if you’re the police and trying to catch crooks, wouldn’t it be ideal to just watch everyone, figure … Continue reading

… but sometimes patients win!

How the community feels can force a insurer into taking action it didn’t want to. Recently, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois reversed its decision on requiring pre-approvals for mental health services (Chicago Tribune article) after doctors and others complained.  Prior approvals, as most folks know who work in managed care, are an easy way for … Continue reading

Insurers dictate healthcare treatment

While the payment of doctors to act as spokespeople raises red flags amongst the public, who’s really influencing physician prescribing habits? Is it the pharmaceuticals? Certainly, the money trail laid out by ProPublica (see previous blog) would seem to indicate that. However, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (2008 Outlook report) found that … Continue reading