NACDS Praises FDA's Progress toward More Useful Medication Information for Patients
NACDS, others requested focus on issue in June 2008 Citizen Petition
Alexandria, Va. - The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today provided further urging and advice in support of the effort to improve the usefulness of the information that patients receive with their prescription medications.
In a presentation to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public hearing, NACDS Vice President of Government Affairs and Pharmacy Advisor Kevin Nicholson, R.Ph., J.D., said NACDS is "very pleased" that FDA appears to be moving toward a single information document with standardized format and content and urged FDA to "continue to move toward this laudable goal with all reasonable haste."
NACDS and seven other pharmacy and consumer organizations in June 2008 submitted a Citizen Petition to FDA, which urged a move to a concise, plain-language document for patients that would consolidate and replace the multiple written communications pharmacies currently are required to distribute to patients.
Nicholson said that, under current requirements, "patients receive several different types of information, developed by different sources that may be duplicative, incomplete, or difficult to read or understand."
"Patients want a useful document, designed and written for them, that recognizes their information needs, that focuses concisely on critical information, and that provides them with clear instructions on where to go for further advice and instruction," Nicholson said. "It would be far more convenient, efficient, and ultimately more effective for pharmacists to counsel patients by providing a single document that could easily be understood and facilitate a discussion concerning proper use of medication."
NACDS advocacy and collaboration with FDA on this issue reflects NACDS' consistent emphasis on the importance of pharmacy's role in helping patients take their medications correctly, which is referred to as medication adherence. The New England Healthcare Institute estimates that poor medication adherence contributes to $290 billion in annual healthcare costs, or 13 percent of all healthcare expenditures.
Nicholson's complete presentation can be viewed here.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents 140 companies - traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies - from regional chains with four stores to national companies. NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and front-end suppliers, and nearly 70 international members from 22 countries. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States. The total economic impact of all retail stores with pharmacies transcends their $830 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $1.96 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $1.57 trillion, equal to 11 percent of GDP. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.
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