CVS Caremark saluted for Pharmacy Advisor program
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Friday that the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute awarded the company and its PBM client, ArcelorMittal, the 2011 Rx Benefit Innovation Award. The award recognizes the Pharmacy Advisor program, which was developed by CVS Caremark to manage costs, improve medication adherence and close gaps in care for members with diabetes.
Pharmacy Advisor is a PBM solution that leverages CVS Caremark’s PBM and retail assets in an effort to improve pharmacy care. The company applies rules engine technology to PBM claims data in order to identify plan members with diabetes who currently have suboptimal pharmacy care, as well as those who may be at risk of becoming suboptimal.
Evidence-based protocols also are applied to review the member’s current treatment and identify gaps in care or issues with medication adherence. Once these clinical improvement opportunities are identified for the member, pharmacists discuss these opportunities based on the member’s preferred mode of communication — either on the phone with a pharmacist or face-to-face at a local CVS/pharmacy store.
"This honor illustrates how an employer and its PBM can work together to improve healthcare quality while better managing cost," stated Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business. "For CVS Caremark, this award validates our efforts to develop innovative programs that improve patient engagement, better manage chronic diseases like diabetes and help clients keep their healthcare costs down."
In late 2009 through early 2010, CVS Caremark piloted the Pharmacy Advisor program with ArcelorMittal, a steel company, in the United States where the company currently has approximately 80,000 covered lives. At the start of the pilot program, the client’s member population had a diabetes prevalence rate of 13.7%. In addition, 48% of members with diabetes had at least one gap in therapy and one-third were nonadherent to prescribed medications.
By the conclusion of the six-month pilot, the program already had achieved significant improvements in closing gaps in care and increasing medication adherence rates compared with a control group. Program results demonstrated that a significantly higher number of gaps in care were closed, compared with a control group of members who were not counseled: 59% higher for phone-based counseling and 91% higher for face-to-face counseling.
"Health and safety is the top priority at ArcelorMittal. Therefore, we are committed to finding ways to help our employees and their families lead healthier lives, and this program has helped us meet that goal by delivering improved outcomes for our employees and their insured family members with diabetes," stated Mary Hendrickson, manager of employee benefits at ArcelorMittal. "The program engaged participants by providing them with access to information through personalized counseling with a trained pharmacist either on the phone or face to face."
Added Christopher Goff, CEO and general counsel for the Employers Health Purchasing Corporation of Ohio, "The Pharmacy Advisor program achieved positive results for one of our coalition members by dramatically improving pharmacy care for its members with diabetes. Based on the positive experience of this employer and its members during the pilot program, the majority of EHPCO coalition members have decided to adopt the Pharmacy Advisor program for 2011, and are looking forward to improved member engagement, increased adherence and reduced overall healthcare costs."
Study: Lipitor may prevent diabetic-related blindness
ATHENS, Ga. — A drug used to treat high cholesterol, which will lose patent protection and face generic competition starting this year, also may help prevent blindness in people with diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the University of Georgia.
The researchers, led by pharmacy professor Azza El-Remessy, administered Pfizer’s drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) to diabetic rats, finding that it prevented free radicals in the retina from destroying nerves that help maintain vision. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in adults and usually occurs after they have had diabetes for 10 years or more.
“The exciting part is that there are now treatment options that are proven to be safe that can be immediately translated to patients,” El-Remessy said.
Study results will appear in the March edition of the journal Diabetologia.
FDA OKs Corifact
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for a rare bleeding disorder.
The FDA announced the approval of Corifact, used to prevent bleeding in people with the genetic disorder congenital Factor XIII deficiency, which affects 1-in-3 million to 5 million people in the United States.
The drug is manufactured by Marburg, Germany-based CSL Behring.