NJ looks at measure coordinating prescription meds for patient convenience

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Patients with chronic illness often need an array of medications, but many don’t follow the doctor’s orders. They can become confused, experts say, or encounter obstacles to filling those prescriptions.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it more convenient to get medication.

A measure advanced by the Senate Commerce Committee calls for coordinating a patient’s prescription drugs so a pharmacy could fill all of them at the same time.

Patients who don’t participate in medication synchronization are somewhere between 52 and 72 percent more likely to stop taking their medications, said Elise Barry, CEO of the New Jersey Pharmacists Association.

“Because of the confusion of when they take it, and when they refill, and how many trips they have to take to the pharmacy,” she said. “For many, it can be an inconvenience — especially for those in rural areas or perhaps seniors who can’t drive themselves to the pharmacy.”

She said streamlining the process would especially benefit patients with an extensive daily regimen of meds.

“They understand when they can get their prescriptions and take them appropriately,” Barry said. “And it also increases the number of days that they’re on their doctor’s therapy, on average of a hundred additional days, because they are compliant, they are taking their medication as prescribed.”

Patients who don’t take their prescribed medications increase U.S. health care costs by $100 billion annually, she said.

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