Medco To Launch Prescription Drug Review System

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Prescription Drug Review System

Pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutionson Tuesday will launch a prescription drug review system in an effort toreduce costly and potentially life-threatening medication errors, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. According to a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine, 1.5 million preventable medication errors occur annually and such errors cost at least $3.5 billion in treatment.

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UnderMedco's program, computers will flag incoming prescriptions for peoplewith chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and infectiousdisease, for a specialty pharmacist to review as needed. Medco hastrained 700 pharmacists, each on one of seven chronic conditions. ThePBM also has established a resource center for each condition at itsmail-order pharmacies.

Pharmacists will look for dosingerrors, interactions with other medications, whether a person isrefilling prescriptions as directed and whether a different medicationmight be more appropriate. People also will have access to a 24-hourhotline for questions about prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

PBMs Express Scripts and CVS Caremark have similar programs for people with complex conditions, and WellPoint said it is starting a program that will cover 14 conditions. Anne Burns, a vice president at the American Pharmacists Association,on Monday said the growing movement by chain drugstores, hospitals andmail-order pharmacies that offer such evaluation services is "asignificant trend across practice settings" (Johnson, AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/15).
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