Pharmacy Benefit Manager To Launch Rx Drug Review System
Pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions on Tuesday will launch a prescription review system in an effort to reduce costly and potentially life-threatening medication errors, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports.
According to a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine, 1.5 million preventable medication errors occur annually and such errors cost at least $3.5 billion in treatment.
Under Medco's program, computers will flag incoming prescriptions for people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and infectious disease, for a specialty pharmacist to review as needed. Medco has trained 700 pharmacists, each on one of seven chronic conditions. The PBM also has established a resource center for each condition at its mail-order pharmacies.
Pharmacists will look for dosing errors, interactions with other medications, whether a person is refilling prescriptions as directed and whether a different medication might be more appropriate. People also will have access to a 24-hour hotline for questions about prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
PBMs Express Scripts and CVS Caremark have similar programs for people with complex conditions, and WellPoint said it is starting a program that will cover 14 conditions.
Anne Burns, a vice president at the American Pharmacists Association, on Monday said the growing movement by chain drugstores, hospitals and mail-order pharmacies that offer such evaluation services is "a significant trend across practice settings" (Johnson, AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/15).