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Congress Approves ePrescribing Initiative in Medicare Reform Bill: Critical Catalyst in Driving a New Generation of Prescribing

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., July 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In approving a Medicare reform bill that provides incentives for doctors to forego traditional pad-and-paper prescribing in favor of digital systems, Congress took the lead in protecting America's seniors and reached a major milestone in wiring the health care system, Medco Health Solutions (NYSE: MHS) said today.

"History shows that where Medicare goes, the rest of the health care system will surely follow," said David B. Snow Jr., Medco chairman and CEO. "By providing incentives for doctors to embrace ePrescribing technologies in prescriptions written for Medicare, Congress has created a catalyst for a long overdue transformation -- adoption of a system proven to reduce errors and improve efficiencies in the most frequently used process in modern health care: prescribing medicines."

Snow added: "ePrescribing efficiencies reduce the cost of processing a prescription, and can help save billions of dollars for Medicare, reducing paperwork for physicians and pharmacists, and safeguarding the health of America's seniors."

The ePrescribing initiative, which first provides financial incentives for doctors who submit prescriptions digitally and then -- following a transition period -- penalizes those who do not, was contained in broad-based Medicare legislation approved by both houses of Congress and forwarded to the President.

Medco played an instrumental role in a broad coalition of pharmacy industry groups, insurers, employers, clinicians, and patient-advocacy organizations in supporting efforts to incent the adoption of secure digital prescribing technologies to improve clinical outcomes for patients and financial outcomes for payors.

"In particular, we commend five members of Congress who showed the foresight and leadership to spearhead this initiative: Senate Finance Committee members John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) and House of Representatives members Allyson Schwartz (D-Penn.), Jon Porter (R-Nev.) and Lois Capps (D-Calif.)," Snow said.

Although surveys reveal that 90 percent of physicians support ePrescribing, fewer than 1 in 10 currently use the life-saving technology.

Medco, in one of the largest ePrescribing pilots in America and in collaboration with several partners in Southeast Michigan, revealed that:

-- Nearly 65 percent of physicians reported changing a prescription due to safety alerts transmitted through the system.

-- 75 percent of physicians said the technology improved safety for their patients.

-- Approximately 70 percent were very satisfied with the ease of identifying drug-to-allergy and drug-to-drug interactions.

It is estimated that over the next 10 years, up to 80 percent of prescriptions will be transmitted electronically.

"Medicare has traditionally served as a critical tipping point for the broad adoption of new medical practices," said Snow. "As doctors begin using these technologies for their Medicare patients, they will, predictably, use those technologies across their entire patient populations."

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc., (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2007 total net revenues of more than $44 billion. Medco's prescription drug benefit programs, covering approximately one-in-five Americans, are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy health care for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes, and for individuals served by the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program and those served by its specialty pharmacy segment, Accredo Health Group. Medco, the world's most advanced pharmacy(TM), is positioned to serve the unique needs of patients with chronic and complex conditions through its Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R), including its enhanced diabetes pharmacy care practice through the Liberty acquisition. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2008 Fortune 100 list. On the Net:

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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