The pros and cons of in-office pharmacies

It's difficult for practices to ensure patients' medication adherence as patients often fail to fill or take prescriptions as directed for several reasons, with physicians often learning of the problem after a consequence occurs.

The creation of in-office pharmacies is one strategy that some practices try to combat these issues, according to an article in the Gainesville Times. "It takes a concern away from us of the patient not getting their medication that day," Brent Archer, M.D., of Northeast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic, told the newspaper. "They won't be delayed in their treatment."

In addition to patient convenience and physician oversight, the close proximity of the pharmacy to the office gives pharmacists easy access to the prescribing physicians, the article noted.

However, small practices may struggle to make drug-dispensing profitable enough to be worth the effort, FiercePracticeManagement reported previously. What's more, an in-office pharmacy might not be able to offer patients the lowest-possible prices, a concern when the cost of prescriptions keeps nearly 10 percent of patients from taking all of their prescriped medications.

And the cost of prescription drugs has increased across the board, Medical Economics reported. Even generic medications, which often drop in price year-to-year, have gone up 4.9 percent, according to the article.

To help make medications more affordable, prescribers may want to refer patients to discount pharmacies such as Costco or Sam's Club; online pharmacies; or recommend over-the-counter substitutes when possible. Handing out drug samples, however, can be problematic unless they're to treat an acute condition, Margaret Clapp, chief pharmacy officer for Signature Healthcare, told Medical Economics.

To learn more:
- read the article from the Gainesville Times
- here's the article from Medical Economics