CVS forum puts spotlight on med adherence

Health experts gathered in Washington, D.C., for CVS Caremark’s first medication adherence forum in May.

WASHINGTON — In a move that not only shed more light on how to battle the $300 billion problem of medication nonadherence but also helped to raise consumer awareness on the importance of adherence, CVS Caremark convened its first-ever national forum in late May.

The forum brought together health experts — including Troy Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer for CVS Caremark, and William Shrank of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School — to discuss the body of published medical studies for the first half of CVS Caremark’s three-year research partnership with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

During the discussion, Shrank highlighted some of the key findings of the research to date and told attendees that researchers have been working to get a sense of the predictors of whether or not a patient will abandon prescriptions. A key predictor: cost. “When medications cost [more than] $50 a prescription, there was a four to five times greater rate of abandonment. This may not come as a great surprise, but this really highlights this notion of sticker shock,” Shrank said. 

Emerging from the discussion also were several key recommendations, including, but not limited to:

Developing tools that will allow pharmacists to predict and target patients who are at risk for nonadherence and prescription abandonment;

Working with pharmacists and other healthcare providers to simplify pharmacy care for those with the most complex therapies by utilizing a “pharmacy home” concept;

Researching the use of financial or other incentives to encourage adherence; and

Developing a personalized medication approach, such as through pharmacogenomics or individualized counseling with pharmacists.

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