What Drives Health Care Costs in the U.S.?

The U.S. has by far the highest per capita healthcare spending in the world, with no signs of slowing down. In 2020, healthcare spending in the U.S. reached $4.1 trillion, or $12,530 for every person in the country. Medicare and Medicaid expenditures collectively made up 36% of that cost, or $4,510 per capita. That’s nearly the same as the 2019 per capita spending of the U.K. ($4,582) and Finland ($4,450) both of which insure every resident of the country. Yet Medicare and Medicaid combined only insure about 40% Americans.

Exploring the Community Pharmacy Structure in Iran

Community pharmacies are those that dispense medications to patients who aren’t hospitalized or in nursing facilities. This series explores how community pharmacy practice differs around the world. In doing so, it gives us the opportunity to view our own system in a new light and potentially find opportunities for improvement. So far, we’ve explored the practice of pharmacy in Japan, Finland, Australia, Switzerland, England, and the United Arab Emirates. In this post, we’ll look at pharmacy practice in Iran, a health system rarely studied by Americans. Iran’s approach to regulation, pharmacy practice, and education, though, is surprisingly quite similar to that of the U.S.

Antitrust Basics for the Healthcare Provider

In the U.S., antitrust laws grew out of growing consolidation and control of entire industries by single companies in the 1800s. Prices could be fixed by these companies with no control or competition to stop them, and, as a result, prices skyrocketed. After becoming president in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt began a campaign to break up monopolies, and, today, there are both federal and state antitrust laws in place to protect consumers and promote competition.

How Does Drug Pricing Work in the US?

Despite the U.S. having drug utilization similar to other developed nations, its high drug prices have resulted in the highest prescription drug spending in the world. In fact, a widely cited report from the Rand Corporation found that our prices averaged 256% of those seen in 32 other countries included in the study. For branded medications, that cost difference jumped to 344%. To the public and also to much of the healthcare community, drug pricing is shrouded in mystery. The complexity of the U.S. system, combined with the fact that major players in the system negotiate contracts behind closed doors, makes unraveling that mystery challenging.

Community Pharmacy Practice in the United Arab Emirates

Community pharmacies are those that dispense medications to patients who aren’t hospitalized or in nursing facilities. This series explores how community pharmacy practice differs around the world. In doing so, it gives us the opportunity to view our own system in a new light and potentially find opportunities for improvement. So far, we’ve explored the practice of pharmacy in Japan, Finland, Australia, Switzerland, and England. In this post, we’ll look at our first Middle Eastern country: the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

4 Common Medication-related Insurance Rejections Providers Should Understand

Insurance rejections are an unfortunate but necessary part of daily practice for pharmacists and providers alike. While rejections are an important cost-containment tool for payers, they can add a significant administrative burden for medical offices. Understanding insurance rejections can help offices improve workflow and communication, saving staff time and ensuring patients get the medications they need. In this article, we’ll look at the most common types of medication-related insurance rejections and discuss ways providers and pharmacists can handle them.

Exploring the Structure of England’s Pharmacies

Community pharmacies are those that dispense medications to patients who aren’t hospitalized or in nursing facilities. This series explores how community pharmacy practice differs around the world. In doing so, it gives us the opportunity to view our own system in a new light and potentially find opportunities for improvement. We’ve crossed the globe, covering countries as diverse as Japan, Australia, and Switzerland.

A Look at the Community Pharmacy Structure in Switzerland

Community pharmacies are those that dispense medications to patients who aren’t hospitalized or in nursing facilities. This series explores how community pharmacy practice differs around the world. In doing so, it gives us the opportunity to view our own system in a new light and potentially find opportunities for improvement. So far, we’ve covered Japan, Finland, and Australia. Today, we continue this series by exploring the community pharmacy practice of Switzerland.

A Look at the Community Pharmacy Structure in Australia

Community pharmacies are those that dispense medications to patients who are not hospitalized or in nursing facilities, and this series explores how community pharmacy practice differs around the world. This gives us the opportunity to view the American pharmacy system in a new light and potentially find opportunities for improvement. So far, we have looked at Japan’s pharmacy system as well as that of Finland. In this post, we’ll look at one of the most-studied healthcare systems from an American perspective: Australia’s.

4 Factors Affecting Patient Medication Adherence, and How Pharmacists Can Help

Medication adherence is often defined as a patient taking at least 80% of their medications for most diseases. For patients with a chronic disease, like diabetes, adherence rates hover around 50% to 60%. Unfortunately, for some diseases, even 80% adherence might not be enough. Older HIV antiretrovirals, for example, required adherence rates at or above 95%. In the U.S., medication nonadherence has been estimated to lead to 125,000 avoidable deaths and $100 billion in avoidable healthcare costs annually. We’ll look at some of the most common barriers to adherence and offer tips to overcome them, pulling from outside sources and from my own experience as a practicing pharmacist.

Unpacking the Community Pharmacy Structure in Finland

Community pharmacies are those that dispense medications to patients who aren’t hospitalized or in nursing facilities. This series explores how community pharmacy practice differs around the world. In doing so, it gives us the opportunity to view our own system in a new light and potentially find opportunities for improvement. In the first post of this series, we looked at community pharmacy practice in Japan.

The 6 Pharmacy Compliance Issues You Weren't Taught in School

There is often a gap between the laws taught in pharmacy schools and the legal knowledge you need to practice pharmacy. Along the way, it is very possible for great pharmacists to make mistakes and unknowingly break the law or not follow national guidelines for practice. In this post, we’ll look at important laws and guidelines that may not have been taught in your pharmacy school but that are essential for you in order to succeed as a practicing pharmacist.

Maintaining Testing Integrity, Transparency, and Accountability in Pharmacy Licensing

Society depends on licensed professionals for tasks that require specialized education and training. This includes doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, along with builders, educators, pilots, and many others. Licensing is a mechanism to ensure competency — and in most cases written exams are an important part of that process. A recent incident involving the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) has shaken the pharmacy community and called attention to the importance of exam integrity. It is imperative not only for test takers, but also for the general public’s health, that the integrity of exams like this one is maintained.

The Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Medication Affordability

Doctors, nurses, physician associates, and other healthcare providers (HCPs) work hard to make sure their patients get the care they need, and that includes ensuring they receive their medications. Yet, despite their best efforts, too often patients walk away from the pharmacy counter without their prescriptions. In this post, we’ll look at all the ways you can help your patients navigate the costs of their prescription. We’ll also look at insurance and review patient assistance programs, free trials, copay cards, and other ways to help the underinsured as well as the uninsured.

The Role of Pharmacists in Public Health

Pharmacists play a critical (if often underappreciated) role in the public health of the country, providing a range of services beyond dispensing medication. While this hasn’t always been the case, pharmacy practice and education have continually evolved to meet the needs of the public. Pharmacy is not a stagnant profession, and it is up to the current generation of pharmacists to expand into new practice models. Let’s look at where pharmacy practice has been, its modern role in public health, and the impact it might have in the future.
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