FamilyWize Event Provides Insight into Medication Adherence

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Over 67% of interviewed shoppers impacted by high cost of prescription medications

Dr. Galzarano speaks to a patient at Roosevelt Field

Being able to afford one's prescriptions is the logical first step to successful medication therapy, and ultimately, to better health

Over 500 Long Island area residents recently stopped by the FamilyWize information center at Roosevelt Field to chat with a pharmacist about the importance of medication adherence. About half of these visitors also answered questions about their prescription coverage expenses. FamilyWize found that over 67% of those interviewed are concerned or impacted by the cost of prescription drugs, and an additional 10%, while not personally impacted, have friends or family members without adequate prescription medication coverage.

FamilyWize’s three-day event celebrated National Pharmacists Month in recognition of the friendly, knowledgeable pharmacists who ensure that patients use prescription medications correctly. Those who stopped by also received free prescription discount cards from FamilyWize and United Way of Long Island that provide savings of up to 75 percent, wallet medicine reminder cards provided by the National Consumers League’s Script Your Future campaign, and other giveaways, including Halloween glow sticks for children.

“Patients often have good reasons for not taking their medication as directed, from concerns about the out-of-pocket costs of prescriptions to side effects, but the more a patient understands the impact medication has on their health, the more likely the barriers to adherence can be addressed,” said Rebecca Burkholder, Vice President of Health Policy for the National Consumers League, America’s oldest consumer organization, representing consumers and workers since 1899. “We are pleased to be working with FamilyWize to improve medication adherence by providing patients with resources to help make medications more affordable.”

FamilyWize surveyed 232 mall visitors over the course of three days and the results support other studies on medication adherence. A recent CVS Caremark study found that 62% of pharmacists surveyed point to the high cost of prescription medications as the main cause of nonadherence for their patients. Another Consumer Reports poll found that 45% of adults under the age of 65 skipped filling a prescription when they were sick in order to save money.

“Being able to afford one's prescriptions is the logical first step to successful medication therapy, and ultimately, to better health,” says Sharon Galzarano, R.Ph., who was on hand at the FamilyWize booth to speak to visitors. “A former US surgeon general said: "Drugs don't work in patients who don't take them.” I would respectfully add that drugs can't work in patients who can't get them because they can’t afford them. As a pharmacist for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen the negative health consequences of not taking medication as it was prescribed; patients can end up hospitalized, or their medical condition can worsen because they did not take their medication as their healthcare provider directed. Patients also have to remember that skipping pills or just taking a few doses and “saving the rest for next time” actually has the potential to cause problems in the future.”

In the midst of an uncertain economic climate, FamilyWize and its nearly 1,000 United Way partners, including United Way of Long Island, are helping to eliminate the need to choose between necessary expenses and filling prescription medications. The free FamilyWize discount prescription card is honored by all pharmacy chains like Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, Rite-Aid, CVS, Pathmark, Waldbaums, and many others including local community pharmacies. In the Long Island, NY area, 24 Waldbaums locations accept the FamilyWize cards. FamilyWize’s new website,, lets people compare medication costs at local pharmacies as well as download a free prescription discount card that can save up to 75% on medicine costs, a discount that is sometimes even greater than what insurance coverage offers.

"FamilyWize is grateful for all the support from the community at Roosevelt Field this weekend,” says Holly Preuss, FamilyWize Chief Marketing Officer. “We heard some great stories from many local residents who were happy to stop by, pick up some pillboxes and cards, as well as speak with Dr. Galzarano. There were many great moments but by far, our most exciting was being to speak one on one with those we can help."


The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership was established in the fall of 2005 to help people get the medicine they need. Today, more than 1,000 participating United Ways and America’s Promise Alliance Partners in all 50 states coordinate the local distribution of the free FamilyWize prescription drug discount cards which lower the cost of medicine by up to 75% to make it more affordable. As of September 2012, the free FamilyWize cards have helped more than 4 million people save over $404 million. For more information, visit

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