Throughout February, pharmacy and medical students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine will be reaching out to the Erie community to promote awareness and understanding of medication adherence. They are embarking on the Script Your Future Student Pharmacist Medication Adherence Challenge hoping to repeat their 2012 achievement when they ranked among the top five pharmacy schools in the national challenge.
Erie County (Pa.) Executive Barry Grossman presented a proclamation recognizing the important role that student pharmacists play in health care and, most importantly, how the Script Your Future Challenge will demonstrate the significance of diligently following prescription instructions and completing dosages.
Erie County Executive Barry Grossman presents the Script Your Future Proclamation to Thomas Roland, Class of 2014 School of Pharmacy Student Government Association President. Dean Hershey Bell, MD and Associate Dean Rachel Ogden, PharmD helped kick of the Medication Adherence Challenge.
“The Script your Future campaign is an effort to bring together student pharmacists and other future medical professionals to improve patient care through medication adherence,” said Thomas Roland, Class of 2014 Student Government Association president. “Medications are a valuable tool in improving patient health. However, they only work if taken properly.”
When patients use their medications as prescribed by physicians, dentists, and other health care professionals, and as reviewed by pharmacists, they can see success of those regimens in improving patient outcomes. Skipping medications or not using all of the prescribed medication has become a major problem in the United States. Studies estimating that patients with chronic conditions adhere only to 50-60 percent of medications as prescribed.
“Pharmacists, as equal partners in health care, contribute greatly as the medication experts,” said Hershey S. Bell, M.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Pharmacy. “They are in a critical position to help patients understand the vital role medication plays in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.”
Medication non-adherence is a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and increased healthcare costs in the United States, with approximately 125,000 yearly deaths and estimated annual costs of 100-300 billion dollars attributable to medication non-adherence.
“We spend millions of dollars unnecessarily on medical care because of people misusing their prescriptions, not taking them properly, not knowing what they interact with,” said County Executive Grossman. “I can’t tell you how much pharmacy plays a role in your life.” He added that he always talks with his pharmacists about the medications he takes and tells his friends that they should talk with their pharmacists.”
LECOM pharmacy students, with the help of their medical school counterparts, have organized awareness events at local schools, sporting events, churches and community centers. They intend to reach several thousand people during February.
The students helped produce a 30-second public service video that will air at every Cinemark Theater in Erie during the entire month of February.f