How adherence helps fight cystic fibrosis

This month, RxSafe continues its blog series, entitled: “How adherence helps with __________ (fill in the blank).”

The series is designed to give pharmacists and pharmacy owners the latest data on adherence, and how it can help your patients’ health -- and your pharmacy’s bottom line.

This month’s focus: cystic fibrosis (CF).

In the United States, more than 30,000 people live with cystic fibrosis. The therapeutic requirements of patients with CF are highly complex, and treatments become more complex as the disease progresses.1

The RapidPakRx is helping independent pharmacies increase patient adherence
"Great Strides Walk For Cystic Fibrosis - May 29, 2011-38" by fabfotophotography is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Unfortunately, adherence for pulmonary medication for people with cystic fibrosis is approximately 50%.2 For children living with CF, adherence rates are even worse.3

Non-adherence for CF patients is associated with more pulmonary exacerbations, lower baseline lung function, increased hospitalizations and longer length of stays when patients are hospitalized.4

Sadly, about 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed every year in the U.S.5 The complexity and cost of medication regimens for people with CF can lead to difficulty with medication adherence. Given the long-term and arduous nature of these regimens, it’s clear that cystic fibrosis patients need all the help they can get to take their medications properly.

The good news is, in the past few years, more effective therapeutic options have increased survival of CF patients.6  Adherence to treatment is associated with improved pulmonary status and increased longevity.7

One challenge for cystic fibrosis patients is medication access. Patients with CF often have to use multiple payers (primary and secondary insurance) and different types of pharmacies, which commonly include specialty pharmacies and mail-order. A recent study found that, when pharmacists were included as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team dedicated to cystic fibrosis patients, their access to medications rose from 52% to 98%.8

We know adherence works... but where do you start?

We know that improved medication adherence works. Your patients refill their prescriptions more regularly, which improves their health, as well as your pharmacy’s profitability.

But how do you make an adherence program work at your independent retail pharmacy? If you’ve ever considered strip packaging to improve patient adherence, you’ve probably heard about several problems:

  • It’s expensive. Most systems, plus the inventory to fill them, cost more than $300,000.
  • The “exception” is the rule. You often end up hand-filling “exception” trays because the strip packaging system can’t store all the different types of NDCs; and cassettes don’t match today’s new generics. Cassette calibration becomes a huge logjam.
  • Rework is a killer. To correct errors that find their way to the pouch, you have to cut open defective pouches, refill them by hand and tape the pouches back together.
  • Verification is cumbersome. It’s time-consuming for pharmacists to manually inspect hundreds of multi-med pouches. You can buy a bulky “add on” inspection unit … but that takes up additional space and is extremely expensive.

That’s why RxSafe designed RapidPakRx™

RapidPakRx is the first-ever system for adherence packaging designed specifically for retail pharmacies to fill a 30-day med cycle at the lowest possible cost. RapidPakRx:

  • Is less costly to acquire and maintain (about half the cost of competitors)
  • Says “goodbye” to hand-filled exception trays and constant rework
  • Makes verification easy with built-in, 3-step machine-vision verification technology

RapidPakRx runs 20 “smart” bulk-loaded universal cartridges that dispense any oral solid medications, such as gel caps, half tabs, capsules, tablets, new generics, supplements, vitamins — even OTC medications, etc. — without calibration.

And now, for a limited time, customers that purchase a RapidPakRx system will be automatically enrolled in the PakMyMeds Network. PakMyMeds Network is a new, no-hassle solution to connect independent pharmacy owners with local patients who want an easier way to take their medications.

Using sophisticated GeoMarketing, online/mobile ad networks and social media, PakMyMeds Network will advertise -- in a 50-mile circle around participating pharmacies -- to patients who could benefit from improved medication adherence and/or are searching for adherence packaging services. Patients who opt-in will then be connected with a partner pharmacy in the PakMyMeds Network.

To learn more about the RapidPakRx system, visit our product page, schedule a demo with your salesperson, or call now at (877) 672-4956.

Sources: 1-CF:Renewed Hope Through Research, 2012, 2-Curr Opin in Pulm Med, 2013, 3-Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, 2015, 4-Curr Opin in Pulm Med, 2013, 5-Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2017, 6-CF:Renewed Hope Through Research, 2012, 7-Journal of Pediatric Psych, 2009, 8-Pediatric Pulmonology, 2014


RxSafe improves patient health by partnering with the nation’s 21,000 independent retail pharmacies, using our technology solutions to transform the way you do business. We collaborate with pharmacies and other industry innovators to enable patient adherence, attract new customers, create additional revenue streams, and boost profitability. Learn more: