A seven-year old collaborative program between URI’s College of Pharmacy and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections has saved the correctional system—and Rhode Island taxpayers—an estimated $12 million in prescription medicine costs.
The program gained national praise for its innovation this year, winning the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute’s Rx Benefit Award.
Since its inception, the program has reduced medication waste by nearly 75 percent and held the trend line on expenditures despite significant drug cost inflation and increases in the inmate population.
The prison system’s daily population averages 3,800 inmates, while its intake center processes approximately 18,000 individuals per year. The ACI population has a greater demand for drugs for such conditions as HIV and hepatitis C as well as a wide assortment of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications. Since the inmates are getting older, there is also an increased need to treat such chronic conditions as arthritis and heart disease.
The program is directed by E. Paul Larrat, associate dean of the College of Pharmacy, Rita Marcoux, assistant professor of pharmacy research, and the Corrections Department’s medical staff.
The college provides an on-site pharmacy manager, Larry Myerson, and extensive data analysis, reporting, clinical support, and management resources. Pharmacy students assist with much of the data analysis, gaining practical hands-on experience that prepares them for multiple career opportunities in the health care industry.