Shopper’s Drug Mart is joining with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) to draw public awareness to the benefits of Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and other forms of pharmacy patient care. They are urging Canada’s Parliament to enact a uniform system of regulation and reimbursement so that patients across Canada have easier access to much-needed patient care from pharmacists, who are better positioned to offer these healthcare advantages.
Currently, it is estimated that one third of Canadians over the age of 60 take three or more prescription medications for chronic conditions. As their medication regimens become more complex, pharmacists are in a unique position to help customers review their prescriptions and understand what to expect from them. This understanding results in more patients sticking with their maintenance medications. Hospital readmissions drop. People lead healthier lives, and Canada spends much less on preventable medical care.
Medication Therapy Management is already widely available in Canada, but it is administered at the provincial level, and regulations and eligibility criteria differ widely by Province. Shopper’s Drug Mart and CARP see the establishment of a unified, national set of regulations as their opportunity to deliver the best patient care to the greatest number of people.
The value of an excellent pharmacy is vital in the world of healthcare today. Pharmacists who sit down to counsel patients can run a rigorous screen for adverse drug reactions (ADR), which account for as much as 6% of Canadian hospital admissions. Further, pharmacists offering a medication review help patients adhere to their prescriptions by telling them in plain terms what their drugs will and will not do for them, and what side effects to be aware of. Well-prepared patients are more likely to keep taking their medications. Non-adherence is believed to cost Canada 125,000 lives and between $7 and $9 billion each year.
With lives and money at stake, making medication review services available to all Canadians is important work for Canada and the future of the pharmacy industry. We applaud Shopper’s Drug Mart and CARP for taking a leading role.