FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — Pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions’ specialty pharmacy division, Accredo Health Group, has managed to drive down costs for treating hepatitis C by an average of $13,000 per patient, the company said Tuesday.
Medco said Accredo had been successful in using genotype information to identify patients who only may need 24 weeks of therapy, as opposed to 48 weeks, thus reducing costs.
In addition, Accredo said its high-touch care model helps educate patients about their treatment and the need to adhere to it, as patients must be at least 80% adherent to therapy for their HCV treatment to be effective. As a result of its efforts, patients receiving therapy from Accredo’s nurses and specialty pharmacists are nearly 10% more adherent than those receiving therapy from other providers, the company said.
Two new drugs for hepatitis C — Merck’s Victrelis (boceprevir) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incivek (telaprevir) — also hold promise. “These new drugs will likely be game changers for HCV patients, but patients are going to need help adhering to treatment,” Medco Rare and Specialty Therapeutics Resource Center VP and national practice leader Richard Faris said. “Medco’s enhanced clinical oversight and expertise in gene-based medicine enable us to help patients get the right treatment and stay on therapy.”