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FAMILY PHARMACISTS HELP OLDER AMERICANS REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS, STAY OUT OF HOSPITAL

 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The family pharmacist has emerged as a key player in the effort to reduce health care costs, especially for older Americans. Pharmacists do this by providing expert advice to seniors on how to take medications properly.
 Seniors take three to four times as many medications as the average consumer, so establishing an ongoing relationship with a family pharmacist is especially critical for this population group. Continual medication monitoring by a neighborhood pharmacist not only saves seniors' money on their medications, it helps them to avoid a multitude of health problems, from potentially dangerous drug interactions to unnecessary hospital stays and nursing home admissions.
 Individuals over the age of 65 make up about 12 percent of the population but use 30 percent of all prescription medications. They receive an average of 20 prescriptions a year, and when they don't take their medicine as prescribed, the costs and consequences echo throughout society.
 The government reports that 25 percent of all hospital admissions among those age 65 and over are related to inappropriate medication use. An estimated 125,000 people die every year because they fail to take their medications properly.
 "Older Americans must be encouraged to find a pharmacist who will counsel them in person, keep up-to-date profiles on the medications they are taking, and consult regularly with their physicians about the medications they prescribe," said Donald Moore, a Kokomo, Ind., pharmacist and president of NARD, the national association representing 40,000 independent pharmacies across the nation.
 Pharmacy counseling is crucial to compliance since studies show that by the time patients get from the doctor's office to the pharmacy they have forgotten half of their instructions. "You should choose your pharmacist as carefully as you choose your doctor," said Moore.
 Moore offered tips for older Americans to improve their compliance and avoid dangerous drug interactions:
 -- Make sure your pharmacist knows all the medications you take;
 -- Ask questions about prescribed medications and their expected results;
 -- Never take drugs prescribed for someone else;
 -- Follow all directions from your doctor and pharmacist;
 -- Ask your pharmacist for reminders or other help in taking your drugs properly.
 -0- 2/2/93
 /CONTACT: Todd Dankmyer of NARD, 703-683-8200/


CO: NARD ST: Virginia IN: HEA SU:

SM -- NYSFNS4 -- 1823 02/02/93 11:24 EST
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Date:Feb 2, 1993
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