LTCPA Study Quantifying Unused Medicare Part D Drugs in Skilled Nursing Facilities Published in The Consultant Pharmacist

Study finding that the value of unused solid oral medications leaves little opportunity to achieve savings through use of 'short cycle dispensing' to be published in peer-reviewed journal

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance's (LTCPA) recent study, "Measurement of Unused Medication in Medicare D Residents in Skilled Nursing Facilities," has been published in the September 2011 issue of The Consultant Pharmacist, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. This is the first published, peer-reviewed study to measure the quantity and the value of unused solid oral dosage from prescription drugs among Medicare Part D–covered residents in skilled nursing facilities.  The study was based upon actual dispensed and returned prescription data provided to the authors by long-term care pharmacies, and its data and methodology have undergone a rigorous peer-review.  

The study highlights several important findings:

  • The cost of unused Part D drug products dispensed to skilled nursing facility residents that could feasibly be reduced to shorter fill times – identified as brand and generic oral solid prescriptions – amounts to about 2.9% of total dispensed value of all prescriptions, or $125 million annually.
  • Based on the value of the unused drugs, moving to shorter fills via "short cycle dispensing" will very likely result in higher costs to the Medicare program. Shorter fills will result in more dispensed prescriptions and more dispensing fees charged to Medicare Part D prescription plans, overwhelming any potential savings.

The study, conducted by Managed Solutions, LLC and originally released by LTCPA in January 2011, supports pharmacists' contention that the "short cycle dispensing" provision inserted within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is likely to create greater health care costs rather than savings. The intent of the provision was to reduce costs associated with medications unused by Part D-covered skilled nursing facility residents by moving from traditional 30-day fills to shorter fill times such as biweekly, weekly or daily. Debate has circulated around this provision and subsequent rule-making, as robust data quantifying the amount and costs associated with unused pharmaceuticals in the long term care space were not available. The study fills this gap in data and demonstrates that the costs associated with increasing the number of monthly dispensings are likely to outweigh any cost savings from reducing unused drugs.

To read the published study, click here.

The Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance (LTCPA) advocates for the interests of the long term care (LTC) pharmacy community - a community that provides a critical component to the daily care of individuals living in LTC settings. LTCPA provides a national, unified voice on major issues including LTC pharmacy costs, specialized nursing facility pharmacy services and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.  LTCPA membership is comprised of three national LTC pharmacy providers, Managed Health Care Associates (MHA), Omnicare and PharMerica that together serve 1.8 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or ninety percent of all LTC facility residents.

SOURCE Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance (LTCPA)

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