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Community pharmacists are important to patients

Dennis Galluzzo, executive director of the Pharmacists’ Association of Western New York, made a lighthearted but important point in the Aug. 21 News article, “Home-delivered medications are a growing option for patients,” about the growth of mail-order prescriptions: Your mailman isn’t going to tell you what you need to know about your medication.

Independent Health believes having a dialogue and relationship with the local pharmacist is integral to improved health care. We offer mail-order medications for convenience and value, but the service does not replace the important relationship patients need with their pharmacist and doctor. That is why we worked with our community pharmacies to “level the playing field” with mail-order pharmacies by offering three months of maintenance medications for 2.5 co-payments (instead of three co-payments) in most plans.

Statistics show up to 50 percent of all patients prescribed a medication do not take it as directed. For people on several medications, this rate can be as high as 70 percent. While the drug’s cost is one factor, many people don’t take their prescriptions because they don’t understand why their doctor ordered it. Other patients may not understand or are unaware of the drug’s safety and effectiveness. In fact, 55 percent of medication non-adherence is due to inadequate communication to the patient.

The community pharmacist plays a significant role in helping patients understand why they need to take their medications. Effective communication about one’s prescription can increase patient adherence by 19 percent, which is why your local pharmacist, along with your doctor, can help your medication work the way it should.

Martin Burruano, R.Ph.

Vice President, Pharmacy Services

Independent Health