WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 7, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) presented data at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) that illustrate successful methods for improving adherence to medication and lowering prescription drug costs. The company showed results from three studies which demonstrated the positive impact of various tools available to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) - including automated telephonic messaging, fax alerts to physicians about gaps in care, and strategic co-pay waivers for generic medications.
"Poor medication adherence is frequently at the root of preventable hospitalizations and patient illness and the resulting costs to the U.S. health care system have been estimated to be a staggering $300 billion annually," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark. "These studies show that pharmacy benefit managers can employ a variety of tools to encourage medication adherence and close key therapy gaps, resulting in both improved health outcomes as well as opportunities for cost savings for both the plan sponsor and the member."
One of the CVS Caremark studies examined the effectiveness of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) programs in improving persistency to maintenance medication therapies dispensed via mail-service pharmacy. From October 2008 to February 2009, more than 94,000 commercially-insured mail pharmacy users received various combinations of supportive adherence messages delivered by IVR. Results showed that among members who answered the telephonic IVR, odds of refilling the prescription were up to 70.6 percent higher than controls. In addition, among members receiving early refill reminders the average first fill persistency rate (FFPR) at mail was 3.5 percent higher than controls, while the average FFPR was 1.4 percent higher than controls for members receiving refill reminders after their drug supply was exhausted.
A second study examined the effectiveness of faxed alerts to physicians in resolving potential gaps in therapy in three areas: 1) adding an osteoporosis-preventative agent for women on long-term glucocorticosteroids; 2) adding an ACE inhibitor or ARB for adults with hypertension and diabetes; and 3) adding a lipid-lowering agent for individuals 30 years or older with diabetes. During the study period, a total of 337 employers and health plans, representing more than five million members, participated in a program that delivered fax alerts to providers when members' pharmacy claims indicated the absence of a recommended therapy in one of the areas outlined above.
In this study, interventions were conducted between January 1 and March 30, 2009, with gap closure rates measured through September 30, 2009. Results showed that gap closure rates among members whose physician received a fax alert, were significantly higher than controls. For those members whose claims triggered an osteoporosis alert, gap closure rates were 8.4 percentage points higher than controls, those who triggered an anti-hypertensive therapy alert had gap closure rates 5.5 percentage points higher and those who triggered a cholesterol management alert had gap closure rates 4.5 percentage points higher.
A third study examined the effectiveness of generic co-pay waiver programs designed to provide incentives for members using brand medications to switch to generics. Members using targeted brands were given a six-month period during which they could change to a recommended generic medication and receive generic co-pay waivers at mail. Members who converted to a generic early in the six-month period received two generic co-pay waivers (i.e. on medication for six months). Members who delayed their generic conversion until the end of the six-month period received one generic co-pay waiver (i.e. on medication for three months). The study focused on members who continued therapy with the generic after using the co-pay waiver(s) and found an overall higher sustained generic dispensing rate (GDR) for members who received two co-pay waivers (GDR of 88.2 percent) compared to members who received one co-pay waiver (GDR of 71.7 percent).
About CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. Through our integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care, we are uniquely positioned to provide greater access, to engage plan members in behaviors that improve their health, and to lower overall health care costs for health plans, plan sponsors and their members. CVS Caremark is a market leader in mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and retail clinics, and is a leading provider of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As one of the country's largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), we provide access to a network of more than 64,000 pharmacies, including approximately 7,000 CVS/pharmacy(R) stores that provide unparalleled service and capabilities. Our clinical expertise includes one of the industry's most comprehensive disease management programs. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Company's Web site at http://info.cvscaremark.com.