Clinical Psychiatry Open Access

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Provider Access is not Enough: Clinic-Based Buprenorphine Delivery Program Overcomes Pharmacy-Level Barriers to Medication Access

Elizabeth Kolb

The national focus on improving access to treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) extends beyond the provider who can prescribe buprenorphine. Efforts designed to remove barriers and lessen obstacles to receive care for those seeking treatment for OUD are vastly geared towards making it easier to find a provider and enter treatment. It can be overlooked that not until patients prescribed buprenorphine have their medication in hand can they be adherent to their treatment plan and begin medicationassisted treatment (MAT). A recent study evaluated a clinicbased pharmacy delivery program where patients obtained buprenorphine at the time of their treatment appointment as opposed to seeking to fill at community pharmacies thereafter. Retention in care, medication adherence, illicit drug use and emergency department utilization significantly improved and high patient satisfaction was observed following implementation of the pharmacy services. Efforts that strengthen and empower the prescriber pharmacist relationship and thus, bring the written prescription and filled medication closer, have meaningful implications for patients, providers, and the behavioral health community.