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Lawmakers go to bat for pharmacist-led MTM
February 7th, 2012
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Reps. Mike Ross (D., Ala.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) have called on fellow members of the House of Representatives to support their legislation to enhance the accessibility of pharmacist-administered medication therapy management (MTM) services.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Tuesday applauded Ross and McMorris Rodgers for their letter urging colleagues to support the bill H.R. 891, the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2011, which has 42 bipartisan co-sponsors.
The two lawmakers noted that their bill would expand the pool of Medicare Part D beneficiaries who can qualify for MTM service provided by a licensed pharmacist to any patient with a chronic medical condition. Currently, only patients suffering from multiple chronic conditions are eligible for such MTM services.
"This bipartisan bill will improve medication use and save money by strengthening the medication therapy management (MTM) benefit in the Medicare prescription drug program," the letter stated. "We urge you to co-sponsor the bill."
In addition, their letter stressed how MTM can spur medication adherence, in turn improving patients' health outcomes and reining in health care costs.
"The importance of making sure Americans take their medications appropriately has never been clearer," Ross and McMorris Rodgers wrote in their letter. "Spending on prescription medicine in the U.S. amounts to $301 billion annually, or about 10% of total health costs. Remarkably, almost an equal amount — $290 billion — is spent dealing with the medical consequences of people not taking their drugs correctly. This is unacceptable."
NACDS also cited Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) for her leadership on MTM. In 2011, Hagan introduced the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011, which also seeks to expand MTM services for patients suffering with chronic conditions. Original co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. Al Franken (D., Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and Tim Johnson (D., S.D.). The measure has 15 bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate, NACDS said.
"Pharmacist-administered MTM services allow a clinically trained pharmacist to conduct one-to-one counseling sessions with patients to help ensure the best combinations of medications are taken properly," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "MTM is just one of many services provided by pharmacists that demonstrate the unsurpassed value of community pharmacy. These services can improve health and reduce health care costs across the board.
"We thank Sen. Hagan and Reps. Ross and McMorris Rodgers for their continued leadership on this issue and urge the House and Senate to act quickly on both bipartisan bills," he added.