Helena Foulkes, executive vice president and chief health care strategy officer at CVS Caremark Corp., outlined the results of a company-led study showing that its Pharmacy Advisor program boosted medication adherence and physician initiation of prescriptions for concomitant medications for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes.


CVS Caremark, Pharmacy Advisor, Helena Foulkes, medication adherence, Health Affairs, chronic diseases, diabetes, physician initiation of prescriptions, Troy Brennan, pharmacists, Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital


















































































































































































































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CVS exec: Pharmacy Advisor spurs medication adherence

January 10th, 2012

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Helena Foulkes, executive vice president and chief health care strategy officer at CVS Caremark Corp., outlined the results of a company-led study showing that its Pharmacy Advisor program boosted medication adherence and physician initiation of prescriptions for concomitant medications for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes.

The company said that at a forum Tuesday sponsored by the journal Health Affairs, Foulkes presented findings from a new CVS Caremark study that reviewed how Pharmacy Advisor — via targeted outreach and patient counseling — provided a way to improve plan member health outcomes while lowering health care costs.

"This study highlights the central role pharmacists play in improving the health of their patients and how our programs leverage that expertise as we reinvent pharmacy care," Foulkes explained at the event. "The program featured counseling by pharmacists at retail stores and a dedicated pharmacist call center for those identified as having diabetes. The pharmacist interventions resulted in increased patient adherence and encouraged higher initiation rates of medications needed to best treat diabetes. The results show we are helping people on their path to better health."

Presentations at the forum discussed studies published in the January issue of Health Affairs that focused on treatment and health care programs for people with diabetes. The issue included a CVS Caremark study that outlined findings from an analysis of the pharmacy claims data of benefit members at a large Midwest manufacturing company that focused on interventions with diabetic patients between October 2009 and April 2010.

The study, CVS Caremark said, tracked the medication behavior of an intervention group of 5,123 people with diabetes who were counseled by retail and call center pharmacists, and a control group of 24,124 patients with diabetes who didn't get specialized counseling. The researchers measured gains in patient adherence and medication initiation rates — of concomitant therapies for diabetes, such as statins, ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

Researchers from CVS Caremark, assisted by experts from Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital, showed that contacts by pharmacists with the patients and their doctors lifted therapy initiation rates by as much as 39% for the full sample and 68% for the group counseled at retail stores and increased medication adherence rates by 2.1%.

The researchers also noted that face-to-face interventions by retail store pharmacists boosted adherence rates by 3.9%.

CVS Caremark had announced the results of the study, titled "An Integrated Pharmacy-Based Program Improved Medication Prescription and Adherence Rates in Diabetes Patients," on Monday.

"Ensuring adherence and appropriate treatment has long been the domain of primary care providers," study lead author Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, stated when the results were announced. "However, as demands on the time of these providers increase, interventions carried out by pharmacists can complement primary care. Indeed, pharmacists are in the unique position to monitor patient adherence and effectively intervene when indicated."

The company's Pharmacy Advisor program promotes interactions between diabetes patients and pharmacists, either through face-to-face counseling or on the phone. 

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