Providing high-value, cost-conscious medication therapy (Part I)

This is the first of three Advocacy Insider articles designed to improve your medication prescribing. The goal is to increase your patients’ compliance with your recommended medication management. Many of the tips and sources come from the American College of Physicians, and apply to all patients. It is clear that many patients with difficult-to-manage asthma, and/or difficult-to-manage rhinosinusitis, are problematic because of noncompliance with their allergists’ medication therapy program. This noncompliance is frequently unknown to you because patients who cannot afford prescribed medications, or choose not to follow the outlined instructions, are generally reluctant to inform their physician.

We hope you will come away from this series of Advocacy Insider articles with more knowledge about:

  • Better approaches to simplifying medication regimens – stopping nonessential medications.
  • Ways to identify medication cost as an important barrier to adherence.
  • Identifying resources to assist patients with medication costs and adherence. (Your staff can assist patients in understanding medication regimens or obtaining medications; which will help you when prescribing).

Improving adherence, reducing unnecessary medications and prescribing effective, low-cost medications whenever possible are not only good for your patient; they are the steps needed to prepare for value-based medicine and upcoming alternative payment models.

Brand-name drugs

Ask yourself if the brand-name drug is really any better than the generic which may cost one-fourth as much. Ask yourself if an over-the-counter drug can work as well as a prescribed drug. You may want to visit your local pharmacy and see what medications are available over-the-counter. However, in some instances, it is less expensive to fill a prescription than to purchase the medication over-the-counter.

Pharmacies offer savings cards and savings plans for a variety of generic medications which can result in significant discounts. Patients do not have to be members of Sam’s Club or Costco to use their pharmacies, and Costco posts prescription drug prices online.

In many cases it will be less expensive for your patient to obtain their medications through a mail-order pharmacy.

Please watch for Part II in the next Advocacy Insider!

Advocacy Issue: 
Billing, Coding & Payments