July 22, 2014

Medication Access & Management

Access to Pharmaceuticals

For facilities providing direct care to medically underserved populations, one of the primary obstacles to comprehensive services is accessing effective and affordable medications.

ACU recognizes that for many of our constituents, it is frustrating to finally get the patient into the clinic, to successfully diagnose the patient, and yet to discover that the patient is unable to afford or access the medication required to treat his or her diagnoses.

The mission of the ACU is to improve the health of underserved populations by enhancing the development and support of the health care clinicians serving these populations. As a part of its mission, ACU has compiled the following resources for implementing comprehensive pharmaceutical care:

Medication Management Tools

Epocrates http://www.epocrates.com/products/rx/

For dosing, side effects, contraindications, interactions, manufacturer and retail pricing information. Epocrates can be downloaded to a smart phone free of charge.

Electronic Orange Book http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/default.htm
For generic equivalents available for brand name drugs.  You can search for generic equivalents by searching by proprietary “brand” name,” then searching again by using the active ingredient name. If other manufacturers are listed besides the “brand name” manufacturer when searching by the “active ingredient,” they are the generic product manufacturers.

Clinical Practice

Clinical trials  http://clinicaltrials.gov/, a registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. The registry lists a trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details.

American Medical Association, Therapeutic Insights http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/17041.html a disease-specific CME newsletter with the latest treatment guidelines and best practices and evidence-based therapy guidelines presented in case-study format.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/index.html, a federal agency looks to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care by conducting and supporting health services research.

Medication Assistance

Pharmaceutical company patient assistance programs

Needy Meds http://www.needymeds.com/drug_list.taf

RxAssist http://www.rxassist.org/providers/default.cfm
Patient assistance programs are run by pharmaceutical companies to provide free medications to people who cannot afford to buy their medicine. RxAssist offers a comprehensive database of these patient assistance programs, as well as practical tools, news, and articles so that health care professionals and patients can find the information they need. All in one place.

RxHope https://www.rxhope.com/

Partnership for Prescription Assistance https://www.pparx.org/SelectMedication.php

Generic drug programs, pharmaceutical manufacturer discount cards and resource lists

Disease specific assistance:  Non-profit organizations assisting with the costs of medication

State specific information on health care coverage options 

Medication Safety

American Society of Health System Pharmacists http://www.safemedication.com/ site for assisting consumers with appropriate medication use.

Educate Before You Medicate http://www.talkaboutrx.org/, a program of the National Council on Patient Information and Education, offers reliable information about the proper use of medicines.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices http://www.ismp.org/default.asp helps healthcare practitioners keep patients safe and continues to lead efforts to improve the medication use process

Institutional Links

American Society of Health System Pharmacists http://www.ashp.org/

HRSA Pharmacy Services Support Center http://pssc.aphanet.org/

Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access http://www.safetynetrx.org/public/index.cfm










Research, Issue Guides, Tutorials










For charts and clear descriptions of Part D topics, see the Health Assistance Partnership project:

For an understanding of Medicare basics, see:

To calculate when an individual will reach the doughnut hole for coverage, see:

To match medication needs with drug plans, see:

For information on appeals of Part D plan decisions, see:

For formulary information by plan:

Policy Brief

Access to Medications by Underserved Populations: Recommendations for Process Improvement by Ileana Burgos, MSW and Kathie Westpheling, MPH