- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting patients to stick with their medication therapy is indeed an enormous challenge with significant potential for reduced health care costs as more expensive treatments and procedures are avoided (“Some solutions already at hand,” Opinion, Sunday). The annual cost of misusing medication was recently estimated at $290 billion. Trusted and accessible as they are, community pharmacists are the single greatest resource to increase patient adherence.

CVS Caremark is part of the problem, its recent lip service notwithstanding. Since the union of CVS stores with the largest pharmacy benefit manager (Caremark), they have broken pre-merger promises and have aggressively pushed patients away from their longtime pharmacists.

Higher co-payments on patients choosing independents, refusing to cover prescriptions that are not filled through mail order - these and other CVS Caremark practices put profits before patients, sever patient-pharmacist partnerships and increase the likelihood that patients lapse in their medication therapy - pushing those $290 billion costs even higher.

BRUCE T. ROBERTS

Executive vice president and CEO

National Community Pharmacists Association

Alexandria