Study: Point-of-care access to generic Rx samples boosts initiation, adherence rates

SAN DIEGO — New research presented at the World Congress Summit to Improve Adherence and Enhance Patient Engagement by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, finds that the MedVantx MedStart Connect generic medication sampling program implemented in the primary care physicians' office, led to significantly increased patient initiation of new prescriptions (primary adherence) as well as continued use of the medications (secondary adherence), and could possibly lead to savings for health plans.

The study was sponsored by MedVantx and independently conducted by Janice Pringle, principal investigator and director of the program evaluation and research unit at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

"Primary medication non-adherence is an under-addressed problem in health care.  The simple fact is that medications don't work if patients don't get them," Pringle said. "The results of this study show a substantial benefit of a unique adherence intervention that not only addresses primary non-adherence, but also proves to be of value over time in improving secondary adherence to medication."

The study compared the prescription initiation and refill histories of a patient population who received in their doctors' offices an initial 30-day sample of generic medications for treatment of chronic diseases including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, to a group of patients receiving only electronic prescriptions. All of the patients receiving the MedVantx samples were able to start therapy, while only an average of 60% of patients in the e-prescribing group went on to fill a prescription to initiate therapy. The study also found that 73% of patients receiving a MedVantx sample went on to fill their first prescription to obtain a second month of therapy after finishing their 30-day sample.

To determine the program's potential impact on secondary adherence rates, researchers analyzed pharmacy claims data provided by health plans for filled prescriptions at 90, 180, and 365 days after the point of care generic sampling event. Over this time period, patients who received MedVantx samples continued to fill prescriptions for these medications at each time point, obtaining 53 more days of medication during the course of one year.  At each time point, the proportion of days covered was also higher for the MedVantx point-of-care generic sample group, with a difference of 42% at 90 days, 26% at 180 days, and 15% at 365 days. In addition, researchers found that the percentage of patients who were highly adherent (had medications 80% of the defined time frame or PDC80%) was also statistically significantly higher at each time point in the MedVantx sampled group versus the control group.

The researchers also sought to establish if the adherence achieved through the point of care generic sampling program resulted in reduced overall health care costs for those patients. They found results that were strongly suggestive of real cost savings, including an average overall health care cost reduction per sampled patient of $201 to $291 the year after sampling.


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