Medicaid patients across four therapeutic categories experienced better adherence with 90-day medication supplies compared to 30-day refills, according to a Walgreen Co. study.


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Walgreens study sees benefits of 90-day prescriptions

November 19th, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Medicaid patients across four therapeutic categories experienced better adherence with 90-day medication supplies compared to 30-day refills, according to a Walgreen Co. study.

Those patients with the three-month supply also showed nominal wastage and more cost savings.

The study, which was titled “Medication Days’ Supply, Adherence, Wastage, and Cost Among Chronic Patients in Medicaid,” was published in Medicare & Medicaid Research Review.

The study’s release comes as states have aimed to contain Medicaid pharmacy costs by placing dispensing limits on medication days’ supply (most have a limit of 34 days), in an effort to limit medication ­wastage.

The results demonstrate that wastage can be nominal across the 30-day and 90-day channels and that three-month fills at community pharmacies have the potential to significantly improve outcomes and lower costs among Medicaid patients, Walgreens points out. It notes that many of these patients include those with chronic conditions who often face major socioeconomic challenges affecting their ability to remain adherent to medication therapies.

Forty-five percent of Medicaid beneficiaries have three or more chronic illnesses, and this population accounts for 75% of total Medicare.

Compared to patients with 30-day refills, those with 90-day refills at community pharmacies in the study showed 20% higher adherence and 23% higher persistency as well as a projected savings of $13.95 per patient per year, after removing wastage costs and adjusting for the effects of age, gender and comorbidity.

“Our 90-day refill program at our community pharmacies is an innovative health care solution that can help lower costs and improve patient outcomes, and another way in which Walgreens is advancing community pharmacy to help people get, stay and live well,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions.

“At the time of our study, only 13 states gave Medicaid patients the option to receive a 90-day medication supply. However, with the growing popularity and adoption of 90-day refills at community pharmacies, more and more Medicaid patients have an opportunity to benefit from face-to-face pharmacist interaction and the personalized care our pharmacists provide. Both patients and the health care system could benefit from reexamination of these broad state dispensing limitations.”

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