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Why Choose an Independent Pharmacy Consulting Firm?

Your residents have the freedom to choose their pharmcay provider. As a facility, you also have the option of choosing an independent pharmacy consultant that is truly separate from the dispensing pharmacy.

In recent years, there has been a shift in the long-term care pharmacy industry. Now that facilities are responsible for a greater percentage of medication cost, large-scale pharmacy distributors have been able to provide medications at a lower cost, and usually offer "discounted" consulting services, which is made up for in the dispensing fees they receive.

In an editorial on the American Medical Directors Association web site, titled "Biomedical Ethics & Pharmacy Issues in Long-Term Care Facilities", Jonathan Evans, MD, CMD, provides support for independent consultants: Some of the issues that he describes include:

  • Many consulting pharmacists are now employees of corporate pharmacy providers whose profits are derived from the sale of medications in general, and whose profit margins, in some cases, are favored by the sale of certain drugs in particular.
  • At least one national pharmacy provider faxed virtually identical prescriptions to physicians across the country - for their "convenience" and requireing only their signature - in order to begin their patients on lipid lowering therapy with a particular brand of statin drug.
  • In order to maintain their legitimate role as patient advocates, facility administrators and staff should strongly consider hiring their own independent consultant pharmacists to perform the auditing and oversight function required by federal regulations.
  • It is best for the patient, and therefore, best for long-term care in general, if consultant pharmacists remain truly independent from pharmacy providers, in order to avoid even the apperance of a conflict of interest.
  • Complicating the role of consultant pharmacist by coupling the auditing and oversight role with marketing and formulary management is likely to alienate physicians, who may come to view consultant pharmacists with distrust. The result will be to diminish the positive impact of consultant pharmacists on the quality of care.

Elder Care Pharmacy Consultants LLC takes pride in being truly independent. Our recommendations are always intended to meet regulatory requirements, evidence-based clinical guidelines(carefully evaluated to determine applicability for individual residents), or are intended to save cost or nursing time while maintaining or improving quality of care. Our success depends on your satisfaction with the services we provide.

Some eye-opening facts and figures:

People 65 and older use more medications than any other age group. About 75% of elderly people living in the community use at least one medi-cation daily; elderly nursing home residents typically use six to eight medications.

Normal physiologic changes of aging, such as decreased liver and kidney function and increased sensitivity to medication effects, greatly increase the risk for medication problems.

Each year, medication problems are the cause of more than 250,000 hospital stays in people 65 or over—nearly one of every six hospital stays in this age group. These avoidable hospitalizations cost an estimated $20 billion.

Medication problems are blamed for more than 32,000 hip fractures and 16,000 car accidents in older Americans each year. Many more seniors suffer other medication-related problems such as mental impairment, drowsiness or lethargy, and loss of motor coordination.