Battle against nonadherence intensifies with latest CVS Caremark report

CVS Caremark has released the “2013 State of States: Adherence Report,” which reviews how patients in all 50 states are, or are not, taking their medications as directed by their doctors.

This is important as medication nonadherence continues to be a significant issue within the U.S. healthcare system. To be more specific, medication nonadherence in the U.S. accounts for up to $290 billion in excess healthcare costs annually. Yes, billion.

This report, which indicates that the potential cost-savings among states range from $19 million to $2.1 billion, is especially important because, for the first time, it also looks at adherence facts and figures based on the CVS Caremark market segments — health plans, employer-sponsored plans and Medicare Part D — to show differences in adherence across the pharmacy benefit marketplace.

As Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, stated it, “This data offers policymakers and the healthcare industry a new look at adherence across geography, health condition and prescription insurance status, and demonstrates the need for increased adoption of interventions that can improve medication adherence in order to advance health outcomes for patients and lessen the cost burden for the healthcare system.”

Coming on the heels of a recent study by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, this report also shines a spotlight on the vital role of community pharmacy.

Research has shown that interventions, such as pharmacist counseling, are cost-effective and contribute to improved adherence behavior, which undoubtedly highlights the vital role that pharmacists can play in helping patients effectively managing chronic diseases. This is demonstrated by the CVS Caremark Pharmacy Advisor program.

The counseling program is available to CVS Caremark members who are diagnosed with certain chronic conditions and provides them with 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 choose home delivery.

CVS Caremark told analysts during its quarterly conference in May that in 2012, it saved clients more than $643 million in their overall healthcare spend as a result of improved medication adherence for chronic conditions. In addition, there was a 5.8% decrease in the prevalence of gaps in care for diabetics. Contributing to these improved adherence rates and cost savings were its Pharmacy Advisor and Maintenance Choice programs.

Reports, such as the “2013 State of States: Adherence Report,” that further shine the light on the critical issue of medication nonadherence are no doubt important and are not to be overlooked.

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