A Walgreen Co. study comparing usage rates of patients filling 90-day prescriptions via community pharmacies and mail order found that when co-pay costs are similar, patients preferred the community pharmacy channel option by four to one. 


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Retail News Breaks Archives

Walgreens: Retail gets nod over mail for 90-day Rx

April 10th, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – A Walgreen Co. study comparing usage rates of patients filling 90-day prescriptions via community pharmacies and mail order found that when co-pay costs are similar, patients preferred the community pharmacy channel option by four to one. 

Walgreens said Tuesday that the study also found that the overall cost per claim between the two options didn't differ much, contrary to industry perception.

Titled "Community Pharmacy and Mail Order Cost and Utilization for 90-Day Maintenance Medication Prescriptions," the study was published in the print and online editions of the April issue of The Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

For the study, pharmacy claims and eligibility data from employer group clients of a large pharmacy benefit manager between January 2008 and September 2010 were analyzed, according to Walgreens. Employer groups were selected if they offered 90-day community pharmacy and mail order dispensing subject to equivalent benefits — that is, defined as plans in which the mean and median co-pays per claim for community and mail order pharmacy, by tier, differed by no more than 5%.

"We understand that patients seek choice when it comes to how their prescription medications are filled," Jeffrey Kang, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions at Walgreens, said in a statement. "This study confirms that when given the option under a cost-neutral plan, patients prefer filling 90-day prescriptions at community pharmacies over mail order by a significant margin. While we are aware that some patients have a high satisfaction rate with mail order, the findings also further reinforce that many patients value convenient access and the opportunity to establish a personal relationship with a pharmacist through face-to-face interaction."

Walgreens noted that the research also showed no significant difference between the employer's cost per prescription for 90-day maintenance medications in either channel.

"In spite of general industry perceptions to the contrary, this research shows that the cost of 90-day retail is not materially higher than mail order," Kang stated. "It also supports the evidence we have seen that by offering a 90-day community pharmacy option along with 90-day mail and 30-day retail programs, employers and plans can maximize their prescription savings by increasing patient choice while improving adherence, outcomes and patient satisfaction in the process."

The drug chain added that it conducted the study as part of its ongoing efforts to offer patients and payers solutions that address medication utilization for 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions. 

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