Study finds lower costs, better outcomes among kidney transplant patients at specialty vs. retail pharmacy

OptumRx study of 1,038 patients published in Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy

IRVINE, Calif. — Specialty pharmacy plays a key role in lowering healthcare costs and improving outcomes, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by health services company OptumRx and published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, included two groups of 519 kidney transplant patients each. One group comprised people enrolled in an employer-sponsored benefit plan who filled at least 80% of their transplant-related medications at a specialty pharmacy, while the other group comprised patients who filled the same percentage of prescriptions at retail pharmacies.

According to the study, the patients using a specialty pharmacy program showed consistently lower costs and higher therapy adherence than those using retail pharmacies, including transplant-related medical costs that were 30% lower and overall healthcare costs that were 13% lower.

"We've seen similar outcomes in improving medication adherence and clinical results and lowering medical service costs through our specialty programs in oral oncology, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis," OptumRx VP specialty benefit and outcomes strategy and lead study author Suzanne Tschida said. "We have found that, by delivering a simpler, more personalized and convenient member experience, we empower members to manage their medications and take ownership of their conditions."

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