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ACORx Pharmacy: A Prescription for Medication Compliance
By Kevin Brown


Medication non-compliance is an epidemic in the United States. According to a 2012 review in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed. That results in as much as $289 billion in additional costs to the U.S. health care system, according to the review. Today, that figure is estimated to be $400 billion.

Local pharmacist Shawn Nairn, RPh, has been working to change those statistics and help people stay healthy. ACORx Pharmacy, his two-year-old pharmacy venture located in Carnegie, provides its customers with pre-filled, weekly Medication PAKS delivered to their homes once a month.

“ACORx Pharmacy is dedicated 100 percent to medication compliance,” says Shawn. “Every one of our prescriptions is dispensed in a multi-dose Medication PAK. Think about the Monday through Sunday pill tray that people on multiple medications use. It’s that, only the pharmacy fills it instead of the customer.”

Shawn started ACORx Pharmacy because, as a pharmacist for 25 years, he recognized the detriment of medication non-compliance. “This is 2019. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have a grasp on keeping people healthier than we have in the past and frankly, than we do today. One huge step in that process is improving medication compliance. We know medications work, so getting people to take them and take them properly is a big step forward in helping the health of people in general,” he explains.

ACORx Pharmacy was launched in March, 2017 in a 4,000-square-foot building in Carnegie. “We started doing this out of a regular retail pharmacy, but we soon realized that it was its own niche. The way we package our pills is a little more time-consuming and it takes a lot more effort from the team to prepare a package or a whole kit for a patient. Our goal is to manage all of a patient’s medications and not just their oral pills. That’s how we take steps to make people healthier,” he says.

ACORx Pharmacy customers are typically those who are on multiple medications such as seniors, those with chronic illness, mental health patients, and transplant patients. “Most people can take one or two or maybe even three meds without too much of a problem, but once you get into four, five, six meds and some are in the morning, some are at night, you can easily see where the confusion can arise,” he says.

“When the son or daughter or caregiver is with the patient they can immediately see how the patient is doing with compliance because the Medication PAK is dated,” Shawn says.

It does take some time to on-board new customers. “For a new patient we need a week or two. We have to get all your prescriptions. You or your caregiver tells us all the medications you are on. Then, we go back to your doctor to make sure he or she agrees with what you said. Some patients have two and three doctors.”

According to Shawn, another very important part of the process is the “med sync.” “A med sync creates the ability for the patient to get all their prescriptions on the same day. A person might be going to their pharmacy three or four times a month to get their medications. When we do a med sync, they can get all their medications on the same day,” he says.

ACORx Pharmacy relies on technology to fill its customers’ prescriptions. “Partnering with companies like Omnicell to bring tech to compliance has really escalated our exposure in the market,” Shawn says. “Omnicell provides the robotic technology and the medication blister packs.”

“We have a robot at our building in Carnegie,” Shawn explains. “The robot packages the meds with our tech staff supplementing. When we prepare a patient’s Medication PAK, we screen their medication to cross-reference because something may be new or discontinued. Before the Medication PAK goes out the door, a pharmacist reviews every single medication within the PAK and ones that aren’t in the PAK such as inhalers.”

“We’re also working on apps to tell you when to take your medication or to send a text that says, ‘Hey, your delivery is coming today.’ “

There are no additional charges for the services ACORx Pharmacy provides to its customers. “We’re a pharmacy like any other. Your co-pay is your co-pay. There’s no fee for the packaging and there’s no fee for the home delivery,” he says.

ACORx Pharmacy serves customers who live up to an hour from Pittsburgh.

For more information or to become a customer of ACORx Pharmacy, call (412) 857-2922 or visit www.acorxpharmacy.com.



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