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CVS Health’s real-time benefits program helps lower out-of-pocket costs

BY Sandra Levy

CVS Health has released new data showing that the company’s real-time benefits program, powered by its proprietary engine, Script Intelligence, can save CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management, or PBM, members between $120 to $130 per prescription fill.

When provided with access to member-specific pharmacy benefit and formulary information at the point-of-prescribing, prescribers are often switching a member to a lower cost covered drug when available, the company said.

Prescribers using CVS Health’s real-time benefits information are switching to a covered drug 75% of the time when the originally prescribed drug is not on the member’s formulary. In instances where the original drug is covered, but a lower cost alternative is available, prescribers are switching patients to a clinically-appropriate alternative 40% of the time. This results in average out-of-pocket member savings of $130 per filled prescription, according to the company.

“As prescription drug prices continue to rise and enrollment in high deductible health plans grows, many patients are shouldering higher pharmacy costs or abandoning their prescriptions altogether, which can negatively impact overall health outcomes,” CVS Health’s chief medical officer Troyen Brennan said. “These proven, statistically significant savings from real-time benefits underscore the utility and public health implications of providing drug cost transparency, which is making it easier for members to afford and adhere to their medications while lowering overall costs for both members and payers.”

According to a recent national poll commissioned by CVS Health, 84% of Americans believe it would be helpful to have drug cost information up front, before they go to the pharmacy, and more than half 64% say they would use that information to find lower-cost alternatives instead of foregoing treatment altogether.

Members are also accessing information about drug costs and clinically appropriate alternatives based on their benefit within the Check Drug Cost tool on Caremark.com or via the Caremark mobile app. Members who are searching for their prescriptions using this tool are filling lower cost alternatives 20% of the time, when available. In these cases, the member cost was $120 lower per fill, compared to the original drug.

“At CVS Health, our real-time benefits information is facilitated by our unique database and powered by our proprietary engine, Script Intelligence. This database gives us the differentiated ability to therapeutically map drug alternatives based on the member’s individual coverage and benefit status in a way no other PBM in the market is doing today,” CVS Health senior vice president of PBM Innovation, Casey Leonetti said. “Wherever a member chooses to interact with CVS Health, we can help provide greater drug cost transparency and access to the lowest cost prescription drugs.”

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Harris Teeter to match shopper donations for Hurricane Florence relief

BY DSN STAFF

Many retailers are stepping up to help communities affected by Hurricane Florence, and Harris Teeter just added itself to the list.

The Matthews, N.C.-based company announced a pledge of up to $125,000 to the American Red Cross, who is currently supporting affected communities by providing relief supplies, emergency response units and personnel.

Harris Teeter also will match shopper donations, made inside its stores until Sept. 30.

“We are rallying our community and vendor partners as well as our valued customers and associates to support those affected by Hurricane Florence,” Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter, said. “Feeding families is an integral piece of the disaster recovery puzzle, and we want to bring community members, especially those who may be displaced from their homes, back to the table.”

One hundred percent of the donations made through the in-store campaign will benefit the American Red Cross. In addition, the retailer also will deploy truckloads of free ice, water and other essentials to communities most impacted by the storm, the company said.

“The Red Cross is proud to count Harris Teeter as a partner to provide people with much-needed support as we help communities impacted by disasters big and small, and countless other crises,” Don Herring, chief development officer at the American Red Cross, said.

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WBA’s new Tmall Global storefront brings Boots brands to Chinese shoppers

BY David Salazar

Walgreens Boots Alliance is opening up a digital Boots storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform. The move, announced Thursday, will introduce several Boots brands to the more than 500 million shoppers who use Alibaba’s platforms in China, the company said.

The Boots flagship store on Tmall Global will include products from such brands as No. 7, Soap & Glory and Boots Cucumber initially, in an effort to get in on the Chinese market for skin care and makeup that Euromonitor data shows sitting at roughly $27 billion and $5 billion, respectively.

“We are truly excited to be launching our online flagship store in China exclusively on Tmall Global. This is a great opportunity for us to increase the internationalization of our products and to utilize the many innovative technologies that Alibaba has developed,” Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice president, chief commercial officer and president of global brands said. “At the same time, our collaboration with Tmall Global complements our presence in wholesale and retail pharmacy in China with a new, fantastic channel, through which we can distribute our beauty brands in a market with almost endless possibilities. Today’s announcement is the first step on a path we believe offers both of us incredible potential for the future.”

Tmall Global is currently the largest B2C marketplace for Chinese and international brands and retailers. Launched in 2014, Alibaba said it allows retailers without a physical presence in China to build virtual storefronts.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Walgreens Boots Alliance as they continue to build their brands in China, engage a new audience and meet the evolving lifestyle demands of the Chinese consumer,” said Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group. “We look forward to building on the relationship with WBA to continuously expand the range of product selection to better serve the more than half a billion consumers on our marketplaces looking for quality international beauty and cosmetics product.”

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