PHARMACY

CVS Caremark: Medication adherence gets in way of social life, patients say

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. Some patients stop taking their prescribed medications because they think it interferes with personal priorities or compromises social aspects of their lives, according to the results of a CVS Caremark study.

To examine why some patients who said they want to be adherent to their medications still stop taking them, CVS Caremark enlisted psychologists and selected Minds at Work of Cambridge, Mass., to conduct a study.

Minds at Work, a company founded by Harvard University psychologists, conducted hour-long, "hidden motivations" interviews with participants to understand the underlying cause of their actions.

 

"We are looking at patient non-adherence from every angle in an effort to solve this problem," stated Dr. Troyen Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "We are working with researchers to study claims data. We launched a research partnership with behavioral economists and social marketing experts to understand patient behavior. This review by psychologists adds to those efforts and gives us yet another view of consumers as we work to improve pharmacy care."

 

 

Non-adherence is a frequent cause of preventable hospitalizations and patient illnesses and costs the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $300 billion annually.

 

 

Among the findings of the Mind at Work study:

  • Twenty-four percent came to see that taking prescribed medications interfered with personal priorities, including taking care of family members, comprising social aspects of their lives or finding it to be just another in a long line of chores to keep track of.
  • Twenty-one percent came to see taking their medicine made them feel like they were losing control of their lives and sometimes by stopping their medicine they felt they were resisting authority.
  • Seventeen percent came to see they felt taking medicine gave them an unfavorable identify, made them feel old or they wanted others to view them in a more favorable light.
  • Sixteen percent came to see they felt they knew better than their doctors what was good for them; some believed they should take care of their health through exercise and diet.
  • Sixteen percent came to see they were wary of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and did not want to become dependent on medications or suffer unknown side effects.
  • Six percent came to see they did not want to change their personal routines, so they simply put off taking their medications.

In addition, CVS Caremark is continually testing new communications strategies and new programs to drive adherence among its PBM population, taking results of this study and other initiatives into consideration to develop programs that might help improve adherence rates.

 

 

The work complements CVS Caremark’s previously announced three-year collaboration with Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to research pharmacy claims data to better understand patient behavior around medication adherence. The company also announced earlier in April the launch of a Behavior Change Research Partnership with academic leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School and Wharton School of Business.

 

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FDA tentatively approves Sun’s Namenda generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic Alzheimer’s disease drug made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Sun announced Saturday.

The FDA gave the tentative approval to Sun’s memantine tablets in the 5-mg and 10-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Forest Labs’ Namenda, which has annual U.S. sales of around $1.2 billion, according to Sun.

A tentative approval means that a generic drug meets the FDA’s conditions for approval, but the agency cannot grant final approval until the branded drug’s patents expire. Forest’s patent for Namenda expires in April 2015, according to FDA data.

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Meijer offering free metformin to customers

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer announced plans Monday to begin offering metformin immediate release, one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for Type 2 diabetes, at no cost to those with a prescription.

Meijer’s program — which will include doses prescribed in 500-mg, 850-mg and 1,000-mg tablets — joins other Meijer healthy-living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to shoppers, including such initiatives as free children’s antibiotics and prenatal vitamins for women with a prescription. To date, Meijer has filled more than 5 million free antibiotic prescriptions, and more than 500,000 prescriptions for free prenatal vitamins. Combined, Meijer has provided a total cost savings to consumers of more than $90 million.

Meijer is one of several store chains that recently has announced free metformin offerings for customers. Last month, Publix launched a multifaceted program designed to assist customers and associates living with diabetes.

“Meijer is pleased to add metformin immediate release to our free medication program,” said Effie Steele, clinical services coordinator for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. “As our population ages, Type 2 diabetes cases continue to grow. Adding metformin immediate release to Meijer’s free medication program, while providing other ways to manage diabetes through the various healthy living solutions offered in our stores, reinforces our commitment to promote healthy lifestyles for all of our customers.”

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