Fail First is the Wrong Prescription for Patients

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Fail First is the Wrong Prescription for Patients


As policymakers and health care
stakeholders consider reforms to address the cost of medications, Men’s Health
Network (MHN), the leading health advocacy and education non-profit for
advancing the comprehensive health of boys and men in America, urges lawmakers
and regulators to reject outright policies that will prevent or constrain
patients from accessing effective medications necessary to treat their diseases
and improperly insert themselves into the patient-healthcare provider
relationship.

One such approach that should be avoided
is known as Step-Therapy but this process is more accurately termed Fail-First
therapy. This approach is a complex and drawn out type procedure that requires
a payer to give approval to the patient before a medication can be started
(known as prior-authorization). It requires that a
patient must try less expensive, usually older medications — which are
frequently have a higher treatment failure rate because they are less
effective, have more potential side-effects or less convenient dosing — before
allowing the patient to receive the drug their health care provider recommended
based on the patient’s individual needs.

As
a practicing clinical pharmacist and former pharmacist educator, I have seen
firsthand the potential problems this Fail-First approach to care has on
patients, the lost productivity it leads to, and how it not so…

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