Closer collaboration between doctors and pharmacists

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Patient care: Doctors and pharmacists work more closely together

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) and the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA) have developed a new concept to improve patient care while making it more cost-effective. Accordingly, it is planned to have patients who need to take five or more medicines together with one doctor and one pharmacist in the future.

The new concept for the supply of medicines to patients provides for close cooperation between doctors and pharmacists in the care of patients. A doctor and a pharmacist are to take care of the patients for one year from 2013 and draw up a corresponding medication plan. ABDA President Heinz-Günter Wolf explained that this would ensure better medical care, especially for patients who have to take five or more active substances at the same time, and minimize the risk of side effects. The associations also found that the new concept could result in considerable financial savings.

Future concept of drug supply The new model brings considerable advantages to the care of patients who have to take at least five drugs at the same time and should also be reflected in the future care law, explained the KBV board, Dr. Carl-Heinz Mueller. Around seven million legally insured persons take five active substances at the same time, whereby on the one hand the lack of adherence to income (about 50 percent) and on the other hand the impending side effects represent a serious problem in the opinion of ABDA President Heinz-Günter Wolf. The ABDA president emphasized that the lack of revenue compliance and "undesirable drug events" cause around five percent of all hospital admissions in Germany. In addition, according to the expert, unused medicines worth around one billion euros are thrown away every year. In order to take account of the abuses mentioned, the doctors and pharmacists have now presented the "Future concept of drug supply". According to the associations, doctors and pharmacists would jointly control two thirds of pharmaceutical sales from 2013 onwards under the new model. According to the ABDA President, around 2.1 billion euros could be saved in 2014.

Prescription of active ingredients, medication catalog and medication plan The concept of doctors and pharmacists can essentially be divided into three areas, which, based on one another, should ensure better and cheaper care for patients. For example, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations propose that in future doctors should only prescribe the active ingredients, strength, quantity and dosage form instead of specific medicines. The pharmacist then selects the preparations. The name of the active ingredient must also be clearly visible on the packaging for older patients. A second pillar of the new concept is the establishment of a medication catalog that is intended to guarantee nationwide, cross-fund, care-compliant care. According to the plans of the KBV and ABDA, this will contain the medicinal products of choice as well as reserve active ingredients for indications relevant to health care. In addition, the pharmacists and doctors want to control patient medication management based on the changes mentioned. For this purpose, a doctor and a pharmacist will take over the continuous care of the patients for a year and develop medication plans together to meet the individual needs of the patients and to minimize the health risk.

Statutory insurance companies skeptical of new model However, the statutory health insurance companies were less enthusiastic about the “future concept of pharmaceutical supply” presented. "With their suggestions, doctors and pharmacists are building a smoke screen, behind which there is again only a further increase in fees for both," said the spokesman for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, Florian Lanz. In addition, most of the supposed innovations, such as the cooperation between doctors and pharmacists or the prescription of active ingredients instead of product names, should already be commonplace today, Lanz emphasized. The health insurance companies also critically assess the medication catalog. Because although KBV and ABDA tried very hard to avoid the impression of a "positive list", which only includes certain medicines, the legal insurance companies have a bland aftertaste when doctors and pharmacists have such a significant influence on the permitted regulations. Therefore KBV board underlined Dr. When presenting the concept, Carl-Heinz Müller reiterated that the medication catalog is not a positive list, but rather represents "a treatment corridor" for evidence-based medicine. However, the accusation of the statutory health insurance companies that doctors and pharmacists are actually concerned about a covert salary increase cannot be easily dismissed. In fact, 700 million euros of the prospective savings of around 2.1 billion euros in 2014 should flow directly to doctors and pharmacists. (fp)

Image: Viktor Mildenberger /

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