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Chronic and Complex Diseases on the Rise in Philadelphia: Adults Using More Medications to Treat Chronic Conditions

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., July 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A new study released today reveals that adults living in the country's fifth largest city are now faced with a growing health problem; increased prevalence of chronic and complex conditions. Many commonly used therapy classes including drugs to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and migraines all have experienced increases in adults 20 and older.

The analysis, conducted by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager, reviewed the prescription drug claims for the insured population in Philadelphia county between 2007 and 2008. Diabetes medication spiked across all age groups and most significantly adults, with the 65-plus population experiencing a 42 percent increase and adults age 20 and older increasing their use of diabetes medications by more than one-third. The study also revealed that medications to treat heart-related problems, specifically medications used to reduce blood clotting, treat high cholesterol and lower blood pressure also are on the rise, 25.1 percent, 16.7 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively among the population aged 20 and older.

"The data reveals that the health of Philadelphia's adult population is falling victim to chronic conditions that many Americans are facing today," said Glenn Taylor, who presides over Medco's labor and government accounts. "The citizens in this great city should work together to promote healthy lifestyles by remaining active, eating healthy and staying adherent to medication regimens, all of which provide a solid foundation for a promising future."

Additionally, migraine medication among Philadelphians ages 45 to 64 increased 12.5 percent since 2007. Medications used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis, jumped 9.1 percent among Philadelphians ages 20 to 44, 16.2 percent among 45 to 64 year olds and 44.9 percent among Philadelphians 65-plus.

The incidence of adults with high blood pressure and diabetes surpass the national average according to the Philadelphia 2009 State of the City developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts/Philadelphia Research Initiative. Thirty-six percent of adults in Philadelphia have high blood pressure compared with 32 percent nationwide; similarly, 13 percent of adults have diabetes compared with eight percent nationwide. The Pew data also revealed that in 2008, 64 percent of adults in Philadelphia were either overweight or obese.

Health of Philadelphia's Children

Medco assessed medication use among the city's children and found a decrease in the utilization of medications to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in children ages 0 to 19, whereas adults 20 and older experienced a 23.1 percent increase. However, diabetes medications increased 5.7 percent among children ages 0 to 9 and 16.3 percent among children ages 10 to 19. Additionally, pain medications, both narcotic and non-narcotic were on the rise in children 10 to 19; 5.3 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.

Living in a Chronic Nation

Chronic and complex care represents 96 percent of drug spending and 75 percent of all health care spending. In addition, prescription drugs are the first line of defense in the treatment of more than 80 percent of newly diagnosed chronic/complex illnesses. In 2007, 51 percent of insured Americans were taking prescription drugs to treat at least one chronic health problem. Not only is it now a majority, but many of these patients are on multiple medications. According to a separate Medco analysis, 15 percent of patients on chronic medications used three or more of these chronic drug treatments last year. Surprisingly, nearly half (48 percent) of women ages 20-44 are being treated for a chronic condition, as compared to one third of men their age. This demographic also claimed the sharpest increases in the number of patients on chronic medications, rising more than 20 percent between 2001 and 2007.

"Keeping your child safe and healthy is top-of-mind for all parents in Philadelphia," states Taylor. "As a local employer in both Philadelphia and across the river, where we operate the world's largest automated pharmacy in Willingboro, New Jersey; Medco hopes to work with the city to manage the health of these populations and contain this growing problem."

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is pioneering the world's most advanced pharmacy(R) and its clinical research and innovations are part of Medco making medicine smarter(TM) for more than 60 million Americans.

With more than 20,000 employees dedicated to improving patient health and reducing costs for a wide range of public and private sector clients, and 2008 revenue exceeding $51 billion, Medco ranks 45th on the Fortune 500 list and is named among the world's most innovative, most admired and most trustworthy companies.

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This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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