Why medication management reform must be a priority for the new administration

As the Biden administration transitions into governance, all eyes are on the policies and legislature they will enact in a number of key areas, no doubt healthcare being one of them. While the administration is eager to make a difference in the lives of all Americans, it should recognize the need for medication management reform.

A crucial opportunity is at hand to embolden health care strategy by ensuring patients understand their medications and are able to work with a clinical pharmacist and their physician to verify the medicines prescribed are right for them. With over 10,000 drugs on the market today, appropriate, effective, safe and precise use of medication and gene therapies is more important now than ever before. Including high quality, patient-centered comprehensive medication management (CMM) services as the national standard of care will improve patient outcomes, reduce health care costs and save lives.

CMM is a team-based care solution with the patient working in concert with a physician and a team of other health providers including a clinical pharmacist. A comprehensive interprofessional team leverages the skills and expertise of each member to achieve optimized medication use. Each medication is evaluated to ensure it is appropriate for the patient, effective for the medical condition, safe with the patient’s other medications and can be taken by the patient as prescribed.

With an overtaxed health system fighting Covid-19 nationwide, physician appointments, emergency room availability and hospital beds are in short supply. Data show that improper medication therapy (misuse, underuse and overuse) can result in treatment failure, new medical problems or both. Annually 275,000 avoidable deaths and health costs of $528.4 billion are the results of non-optimized medication use.

Studies reveal that CMM reduces the drain on the health care system by improving clinical outcomes and reducing hospital readmission rates.  Now is the ideal time for the Biden administration to effect significant policy change through a team-based care strategy focused on getting the medications right for patients.

How should the administration implement comprehensive medication management reform? The following five principles should be considered:

  • Develop a patient-focused, personalized, systematic, structured approach that will optimize medication use through CMM in practice to significantly improve patient health outcomes, lower health care costs and save lives.
  • Integrate CMM within systems of care by incorporating patients in the health care process to ensure they agree to the medication plan and are able to take them as directed for optimum outcomes.
  • Streamline and lower costs associated with clinical trials and bring drugs to market through delivery system, payment and policy change while implementing widespread adoption of CMM.
  • Expand resources available including access to advanced diagnostics such as companion/complementary and pharmacogenomics (PGx) testing to target correct therapies during the CMM process.
  • Adopt payment models that recognize interprofessional team-based care including clinical pharmacists working in collaborative practice with physicians and other providers.

With a pandemic ravaging our nation, an opioid epidemic devastating too many lives, diabetes and heart disease diagnoses plaguing young and old and other long-term illnesses affecting Americans every day, the U.S. must implement a national CMM health care strategy to get the medications right. As the Biden administration works to reform the broken healthcare process, this proven team-based patient care approach to medication management should be the cornerstone of its new policies.

Photo: Stuart Ritchie, Getty Images

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