For quite a while,  CVS pharmacies have attempted to purchase Aetna Insurance Company. The pharmacy giant is offering $69 billion dollars to bring Aetna under its umbrella.

Obviously, the merger begs the question as to how this will impact healthcare for millions of patients, and what if any effect it will have on the profession of pharmacy.

One can speculate that such a business deal is in response to the rumblings that Amazon will enter the healthcare field as both a distributor of pharmaceuticals and most recently as a technology partner with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase as they create a new health care system to provide care for their 1.2 million employees.

At this point, nothing specific has been said about how the technology will be used to create a more efficient distribution system, impact drug prices or be employed in the ‘new’ health care system. However, the specter of Amazon has sent some shock waves through the pharmacy industry.

No statements have been made by ‘the three amigos’ as to what kind of health care professionals and philosophy will guide the development of the new system.

My initial guess would be that once again, the profession that I regard so dearly will be left on the outside looking in, rather than having a valuable voice in the discussions……….

 Call to Action: Our National and Local pharmacy organizations need to get us into that room before it is too late and patient health suffers!

Our pharmacy organizations need to have a seat at any table concerning the development of a ‘new’ healthcare system. The profession must impress upon these business leaders the value of including/integrating pharmacists into any healthcare organization aimed at improving health outcomes for their employees and the community at large.

We must make them aware that we are no longer ‘pill counters’  whose value only revolves around providing a commodity to the public. We have expertise that when applied appropriately in collaboration with other healthcare professionals will improve patient health and measurable outcomes.

With regard specifically to employee health, an integrated medication management program will positively and directly impact employee absenteeism by increasing patient adherence to medications. This will also increase productivity.

At the same time, pharmacist medication management will decrease emergency room visits/hospitalizations generating huge cost savings for the ‘new healthcare system.’

Finally, pharmacist transition of care activities should an employee be hospitalized will hasten their return to the workforce.

As always, comments on the InnovaRx website innova-rx.net are welcomed and solicited to stimulate dialogue……

Respectfully,

Neal

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