The United States government, individual state governments, and private health care systems are moving toward reforming the way that they provide health care to their citizens or beneficiaries. As they do so, policy makers must improve their medication-use systems to address problems of access, quality, and cost of medicines and pharmaceutical care services. This document offers principles for achieving maximum value from the services of the nation’s pharmacists.
Although pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical care are among the most cost-effective methods of health care available, there is evidence that the public is not currently realizing the full potential benefit from these resources. Illnesses related to improper medication use are costing the health care systems in the United States billions of dollars per year in patient morbidity and mortality. Pharmacists are prepared and eager to help other health providers and patients prevent and resolve medication-related problems, and health care systems should facilitate and take advantage of pharmacists’ expertise.
These principles are offered to guide health policy makers in their deliberations concerning the inclusion of medications and pharmacists’ services in health care systems.
Principle I. Health care systems must make medications available to patients and provide for pharmaceutical care, which encompasses pharmacists’ health care services and health promotional activities that ensure that medications are used safely, effectively, and efficiently for optimal patient outcomes.