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CVS' Pharmacy Advisor aids vertically integrated pharmacy-PBM model

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT The launch of CVS Caremark's Pharmacy Advisor program is important on several fronts; not only does it further strengthen the company's foothold on the frontlines of health care and help curb healthcare costs (in this case targeting patients with diabetes), but it also serves as yet another indicator of the importance and benefit of the company's vertically integrated pharmacy-PBM model.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark's Pharmacy Advisor seeks to improve diabetes care for PBM clients. For the full story, click here)

With 23.6 million children and adults in the United States having diabetes, according to the latest data from the American Diabetes Association, and 1.6 million new cases of diabetes being diagnosed each year in people ages 20 years and older -- not to mention a staggering $174 billion in estimated costs each year -- there's no denying that this country's battle with diabetes has reached a critical point.

With its PBM business and more than 7,000 retail locations, CVS Caremark has been a trailblazer when it comes to leveraging its many points of care to help patients and employers curb costs, and its fight against diabetes is no exception.

As the article explains, the Pharmacy Advisor program integrates the benefits of the PBM and the retail pharmacy to improve pharmacy care. The program applies health-information technology to identify members who are being treated for diabetes and engages them with targeted counseling and support through the channels they choose. Member outreach includes educational information, pharmacist-initiated phone calls, or face-to-face counseling with a pharmacist at a local CVS/pharmacy.

In addition to improvements in medication adherence rates and closing gaps in care, preliminary data also suggested the program can save employers on their healthcare-benefit costs, with an estimated annual savings of nearly $600 per member with diabetes. In general, a client with 50,000 employees -- whose population has an average prevalence of diabetes -- could save approximately $3.3 million a year, or up to $6 million a year if there is a high prevalence of the disease, the company stated.

This news came just as the company also announced the expansion of its loyalty program to include ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes, aimed at providing additional benefits for diabetes patients and caregivers, and free A1c tests at most of its MinuteClinic locations through June 12 to help those patients with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels.

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