January 10, 2017

Too Fast and Furious?

, Network Solutions
, Cost Containment

Vice President, Network Solutions

Over 50% of pharmacies sold medications without mentioning the risk of potential drug interactions to patients, according to a study published by the Chicago Tribune, which collected data over a two-year period.

The study, which tested 255 pharmacies to see the frequency in which dangerous drug pairs were dispensed without warning of potential risk, produced staggering results. Some of those statistics included:

  • Chains failed 49% of the tests
  • Independent pharmacies failed 72% of the tests

According to the Tribune, “dangerous drug combinations are a major public health problem, hospitalizing tens of thousands of people each year. Pharmacists are the last line of defense, and their role is growing as Americans use more prescription drugs than ever. One in 10 people take five or more drugs – twice the percentage seen in 1994.”

Unfortunately, the study revealed that speed too often comes before patient safety. With hundreds of prescriptions to be filled daily, pharmacists’ “alert fatigue” and the stress of corporate scoring standards, little time is left for safety checks, even those required by law, according to the article.

Productivity pressures transcend the borders between the health and workers’ compensation realms. Articles like the one in the Tribune reinforce that pharmacies dispensing medications to injured workers need prospective PBM management, and demonstrate why models that lack active management exacerbate risk. With patient safety being an industry priority, models that promote management, pharmacy accountability and compliance are in high demand.

CorVel’s best practice is to hold pharmacies accountable and deny medications processed and dispensed outside of prospective PBM management. In CorVel’s model, prescriptions that are not managed prospectively are nearly eliminated. CorVel is doing its part to help drive compliance, proactively protect patients, promote patient safety and improve claim outcomes. To read more about CorVel’s pharmacy program, visit CorVel’s website.

There is continued concern over pharmacies putting productivity ahead of patient safety by forgoing safety checks and other non-compliant dispensing behaviors. B. Douglas Hoey, chief executive of the national community pharmacists group, told the Tribune, “It’s something that shouldn’t happen – both for chains and independents. Even one is too many.”

To read the Chicago Tribune article, “Pharmacies Miss Half of Dangerous Drug Combinations,” in its entirety, click here – Read the full story.