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Broker News | Vol. 9, No. 4 | March 14, 2014
Broker News | Vol. 9, No. 4 | March 14, 2014

Campaign Introduces a New "Superhero" to Protect the Health of Local Citizens

We recently launched a community engagement campaign to help protect people against deteriorating health conditions, hospitalizations and sometimes deaths that can result when they don’t take their prescription medications as directed. Visit ExcellusBCBS.com/TakeAsDirected.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a stylized prescription bottle called TAD, for “Take As Directed,” adorned with a superhero cape and utility belt. The TAD superhero conveys simple messages about the importance of medication adherence.

"When it comes to fighting chronic conditions, a prescription drug can be a superhero, but it only works if patients let it," said Mona Chitre, Pharm.D., vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Excellus BCBS. “A key message of the campaign is that ‘If you’re not taking your prescriptions as directed, you’re taking a chance.’” 

“The superhero theme was selected because just about everyone likes superhero movies and generations of patients with chronic illnesses, for which medication adherence is particularly important, grew up reading comic books with superheroes," Chitre added. “In fact, 10 new superhero movies are scheduled for release this year.”

Support of the campaign includes members of the Monroe County Medical Society, Rochester Area Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Pharmacy Society of Rochester, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association.

“Doctors can do remarkable things with prescription medications to improve the health and quality of life of people suffering from a wide variety of chronic medical conditions,” said Joseph DiPoala Jr., M.D., incoming president of the Monroe County Medical Society.

“But too often, patients don’t take their medication as directed,” added DiPoala of Ridgeview Internal Medicine Group in Irondequoit. “Patients worry about medication side effects or believe they feel fine without taking it. The key is to talk to your doctor about your concerns before doing something that could cause you irreversible harm.”

Individuals might not take their prescriptions as directed because it’s too expensive or inconvenient to have the prescription filled or refilled. Others may forget to take the medication when they should, especially if they take multiple medications on difference schedules.

“We urge anyone concerned about the costs of their drugs to talk to their doctor or pharmacist,” said Jason Smith, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy services, Lifetime Health Medical Group. “There are often inexpensive alternatives that will work just as well, such as cheaper generic drugs or less costly brand name drugs in the same drug class.”

According to the American Heart Association, poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually and costs the health care system nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

From 2007 to 2010, about half of the U.S. population and 90 percent of adults age 60 and older used at least one prescription drug during the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over the past decade, the number of people using five or more prescription drugs increased by 70 percent, according to the CDC. These statistics are cited in a new Excellus BCBS fact sheet titled, “The facts about prescription drug use and medication adherence.” (PDF) 

In the coming months, TAD will be carrying the message to the public through a series of print ads, outdoor billboards and a radio spot. A television ad is planned for the future.

Please feel free to share this important information with your clients.

Visit ExcellusBCBS.com/TakeAsDirected | Download fact sheet (PDF) | Watch an important video


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