At the beginning of the year, a major global controversy was settled when it turned out that a study published in The Lancet in 1998 linking the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism in children turned out to be a whopper of a fraud.
While medication nonadherence is a perennial problem that costs the healthcare system $290 billion per year, one of the least explored facets of it is primary nonadherence, when patients receive new prescriptions on paper or electronically and never drop them off or pick them up. But some researchers hope to change that.
“Dispense-as-written” prescriptions are exacerbating medication nonadherence and costing the U.S. healthcare system up to $7.7 billion annually, according to a study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and CVS Caremark.
Patients with one or more of four chronic diseases who take their medications as prescribed may save the healthcare system as much as $7,800 per patient annually, according to the findings of a CVS Caremark study analyzing annual pharmacy and medical costs over a three-year period.
A CVS Caremark-sponsored study looking at in-person, electronic, telephone, fax and mail communications that counsel patients to stay on their medications found that pharmacists in a retail setting are the most influential healthcare “voices” in promoting medication adherence.
Patients with chronic heart disease are likely to have several doctors and take nearly a dozen medications that are filled in at least two different pharmacies, resulting in many patients struggling to keep their medications straight, according to a new study.
How much adherence lowers total costs, why some patients do not take their medications as prescribed and whether what’s saved in health care offsets higher drug costs are among the questions that have not been as clearly understood.
CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic continues to evolve and play a greater role in the U.S. healthcare system as evidenced by its expanding footprint, broadening scope of service and growing roster of strategic affiliations.
At press time, the industry was weighing the potential merger of pharmacy benefit manager rivals Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, but executives at CVS Caremark remain more confident than ever that its PBM business is ideally positioned to “effectively compete."
Private-label penetration at CVS/pharmacy locations is expected to grow to more than 20% in the next two to three years, and to help drive that growth, the retailer has developed its new Just the Basics line of store-brand products.