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A new study by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that the most wasteful healthcare spending stems from poor adherence to medications and that more responsible use of medications could save the U.S. healthcare system more than $200 billion a year.
The study is notable as it further illustrates the importance of medication adherence and, perhaps more significantly, touts the role that pharmacists can play in helping their patients live healthier lives.
As reported by CVS Caremark, its Pharmacy Advisor program was featured in the national report and is highlighted as an example of a patient care model that is helping improve medication adherence rates.
Furthermore, 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.
“Our flagship clinical program, Pharmacy Advisor is succeeding and moving a significant portion of PBM members to optimal levels of medication adherence and a recent study showed that about half of members who were nonadherent before participating in Pharmacy Advisor actually became adherent within a year of being in the program,” Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark president and CEO, told analysts in May.
These results are no doubt impressive and serve as just one example of the important role that community pharmacy can play in improving patients’ lives.
Going forward, the role of community pharmacy will become increasingly vital, as healthcare reform will bring some 30 million Americans into the insurance fold come 2014 amid a worsening shortage of primary care physicians.