An aging population presents a unique set of health care challenges and opportunities. Having different reactions to medications, facing complications from insurance plan formularies, dealing with nursing home and caregiving situations, and developing chronic illnesses or multiple medical conditions are potential challenges for all men and women as they age.

The good news is that pharmaceutical innovation is continuing to increase at a rapid rate, allowing for treatments that are specific to an individual patient. Such treatments can enhance an elderly patient’s quality of life while reducing hospitalizations and caregiver stress. The downside, however, is that restrictive insurance plan formularies – those that do not cover the range of drug therapies necessary for appropriate care – can compromise health outcomes for elderly patients.

In a series of studies from 1998-2006, the National Pharmaceutical Council took a closer look at restrictive formularies and their impact on health outcomes; common diseases afflicting the elderly population, such as dementia, depression and urinary incontinence; and how individualized medicine and pharmaceutical innovation can have a positive effect on elderly patient care.