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Increased Pharmacy and Primary Care Coordination Can Save Lives, Billions in Health Care Dollars

Identifying cost saving synergies and supporting programs that promote pharmacy and primary care collaboration critical to fight against costly chronic disease
Washington, D.C.  (October 6, 2016) More than one in two Americans lives with at least one chronic medical condition, and medication is often the intervention of choice to improve health.  With the growing number of Americans living with two or more chronic conditions, including 2 out of 3 Medicare beneficiaries, the complexity of treatment regimens increases and challenges health improvement. Approximately $310 billion is spent annually on medications in the U.S. However, of the chronically ill population, less than 50 percent adheres completely to medication prescriptions, and further, about one in three adverse events leading to hospitalization is associated with medications. 
To identify and address the gaps and explore solutions to this increasingly costly dimension of our health care system, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) cohosted a Capitol Hill briefing today – Optimizing Medicine Use to Improve Health, Lower Costs: Integrating Pharmacy into Primary Care – with University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Medication Optimization Through Practice and Policy (CMOPP). The briefing highlighted working models that integrate primary care and pharmacy to optimize medication use and drive health improvement for chronically ill populations. 

“Finding ways to uncover value while also improving quality remain the pursuit of our increasingly value-driven U.S. health care system, but by digging in to root issues like medication adherence it is easy to illustrate how team-based care can manage chronic diseases effectively, improve health, and lower the total cost of care,” said Ken Thorpe, PFCD Chairman. “Supporting a system where primary care providers collaborate with pharmacists would measurably improve care, particularly for the millions of Americans struggling to navigate the ins and outs of their medical care while managing multiple chronic conditions.”

Today’s panel briefing uncovered ways to determine what works and how to translate that knowledge to other communities and patients.  Featured panel speakers at today’s event included:

  • Ken Thorpe, PhD, Chairman, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (Moderator)
  • Mary Roth McClurg, Pharm. D., University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy
  • Troy Trygstad, Pharm.D., Vice President, Pharmacy Programs, Community Care of North Carolina
  • Kevin Ronneberg, MD, Vice President and Associate Medical Director, Health Initiatives, HealthPartners 

“Pharmacists and their expertise are available in virtually every community across the country. Assuring that expertise is brought to bear on the challenges facing primary care providers and their patients with complex health needs holds tremendous potential to achieve the triple aims of better health, better quality, and lower cost,” emphasized Jon Easter, Director of CMOPP. 

For more information on PFCD and future events, please visit