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CVS Pharmacy Advisor cited in report on improving Rx use
June 20th, 2013
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Caremark's Pharmacy Advisor program is cited in a new IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report about improving the use of medications.
CVS said Thursday that the IMS report, "Avoidable Costs in U.S. Healthcare: The $200 Billion Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly," names Pharmacy Advisor as an example of a patient care model that is helping improve medication adherence rates.
The program is available to CVS Caremark members diagnosed with certain chronic conditions and provides key information about their prescribed therapy when they are most receptive to these messages — face to face when members are filling a prescription at the pharmacy or by phone from the Pharmacy Advisor Call Center when members select home delivery.
"Pharmacy Advisor offers patients the ability to engage with a pharmacist one on one, at the pharmacy or on the phone. The customized, expert care they receive helps change patient behavior over time, making them more likely to take their medications as prescribed by their doctor, leading to better health outcomes long-term," Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "By creating and maintaining positive relationships with patients, pharmacists play a crucial role in monitoring and improving patient adherence."
The IMS report found that avoidable costs of more than $200 billion are incurred each year from medication not being used properly by both patients and health care professionals. The study examined six areas that contribute to unnecessary costs: medication nonadherence, delayed evidence-based treatment practice, misuse of antibiotics, medication errors, suboptimal use of generics and mismanaged polypharmacy in older adults. Of those, medication nonadherence drives the largest avoidable expense, accounting for an estimated $105 billion in annual avoidable health care costs.
Launched in 2011, Pharmacy Advisor initially focused on patients with diabetes. In 2012, the program was expanded to include chronic cardiovascular care, with the goal of improving medication adherence for four conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease (CAD) and congestive heart failure. The program was expanded again this year to include support for patients with asthma, breast cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteoporosis.
Research published in the journal Health Affairs about the Pharmacy Advisor program for diabetes showed that pharmacist interaction with patients and their doctors increased medication adherence rates and physician initiation of prescriptions, according to CVS.
Therapy initiation rates climbed as much as 39% for the population studied, with an even higher increase of 68% for the group counseled at retail stores. Overall medication adherence rates rose 2.1%, with face-to-face interventions by retail store pharmacists resulting in adherence rate increases of 3.9%. While spending for the counseling in the study totaled $200,000, the participating employer saved more than $600,000 via health care cost avoidance with the intervention group, a return on investment of $3 for every $1 spent on additional counseling.