Here at ScriptDrop, we believe that our streamlined prescription delivery solution can help both patients and pharmacies with the problem of medication abandonment. But nothing is better than solid data to back up a claim, so we were beyond excited when one of our partners, Total Health Care, Inc. (THC), completed a case study that proved just that. In fact, they saw an 88% reduction in return to stock at one of their pharmacies.
But first, some background: THC is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that maintains six pharmacies in Greater Baltimore’s most underserved communities. One initiative they truly care about is tackling medication abandonment.
The Cost of Medication Abandonment
Medication abandonment is a serious problem with a range of causes. But ultimately there is one result for patients: a decline in their health and quality of life. If a patient needs an antibiotic for an infection, that infection may worsen without medication. If the patient is on a maintenance medication – insulin, statins, antidepressants – going off of therapy could result in a worsening of their condition, or even death.
From a business perspective, medication abandonment is bad for pharmacies. Prescriptions that aren’t picked up will sit on a shelf for fourteen days before being returned to stock (RTS). The process of RTS is a common but tedious task – and that tedium can cost a lot.
In a study at an independent Midwestern pharmacy, researchers calculated the costs of filled but unclaimed e-prescriptions that were then returned to stock. On average, between initially dispensing the prescription, contacting the patient, processing the labels, and reversing the fill and claim, the price of the process alone was around $20. Plus, if a returned medication isn’t used before its expiration date, the pharmacy has to eat the cost of the product. That can add up pretty quickly.
How Total Health Care Took Action
To combat this industry-wide issue, THC initiated several programs in January 2019 to help patients get their prescriptions. One of them was partnering with ScriptDrop.
THC recognized that patients with mobility issues would benefit from delivery. Rather than struggling to get to the pharmacy, the patients could have medications brought directly to them. They would be more likely to get their prescriptions on time and stick to their prescribed regimen. THC also knew that some patients wouldn’t have time to stop by the pharmacy during the work day. Delivery would give them a way to get their medications.
THC chose to go with ScriptDrop’s delivery solution because ScriptDrop “did not want to manage the prescriptions; they simply wanted to handle the delivery and provide a seamless experience for our team and the patients we serve.” We left dispensing to the experts, but offered our courier network and simplified workflow to make delivery happen. Thanks to our solution, THC felt the positive impact right away. Division Health Center pharmacy, for example, experienced an 88% reduction in RTS.
Medication abandonment is costly for everyone involved. Returned medications indicate a break in patient care and put extra strain on already-busy pharmacy staff, who have to perform extra outreach, reverse claims, and struggle to keep inventory organized. We’re proud that we could help proactive partners like THC cut return to stock rates and make a positive impact on the patients they serve.
 Doucette, William & Connolly, Connie & Al-Jumaili, Ali Azeez. (2016). Estimating the cost of unclaimed electronic prescriptions at an independent pharmacy. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 56. 58-61. 10.1016/j.japh.2015.11.005.
Nelson, Danny. “Taking Stock: Inventory Management Best Practices for Community Pharmacies,” AmerisourceBergen Insights (blog), August 29, 2017. https://www.amerisourcebergen.com/insights/pharmacies/taking-stock-inventory-management-best-practices-for-community-pharmacies
ScriptDrop. (2020, January 30). ScriptDrop’s Integrated Delivery Solution Helps Increase Medication Adherence and Reduce Return to Stock for Total Health Care by 88% in Pilot Store [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.newswire.com/news/scriptdrops-integrated-delivery-solution-helps-increase-medication-21085987?fbclid=IwAR0UvSFmBg4jbQKqYiG1su78u9-vpwvlsV3vfCVDnwjHlA9_lP8frWsDS6Q