Medco's Medicare Plan is first PDP to conduct ePrescribing Pilot Study
FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As Congress considers a bill that would tie physicians' Medicare payments to their use of ePrescribing technology, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) today announced the launch of a national initiative to assist physicians of Medicare Part D patients in switching from hand-written to electronically generated prescriptions. The pilot program will also be used to study the impact of ePrescribing on patient safety, increased generic drug use and formulary compliance on the Medicare population.
"There is strong evidence that ePrescribing reduces medication errors and increases the use of generic drugs and other lower-cost medication options. We are proud that Medco will be the first Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) to research its impact on the Medicare population," said John Driscoll, president of new markets at Medco. "The program is designed to overcome the cost barriers that have prevented widespread physician adoption of this technology and to verify the benefits of ePrescribing for Medicare Part D beneficiaries."
Initially the study will include 500 physicians currently treating enrollees in the Medco Medicare Prescription Plan(TM). Medco -- working with RxNT, a leading provider of ePrescribing technology - will provide these physicians with free RxNT ePrescribing software and training. Over a six- month period, the physicians' rate of generic drug dispensing, formulary compliance and generated safety alerts will be compared to a control group of 500 doctors who did not receive ePrescribing software or training. Ultimately, 2,000 doctors, primarily general practitioners and internists, will participate in the ePrescribing program.
Advantages of ePrescribing
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that nationally, use of e-Prescribing technology could eliminate as many as two million harmful drug events each year. The benefits of ePrescribing technology include reducing potentially harmful drug interactions by alerting physicians to possible risks and eliminating illegible physician hand-written prescriptions that can lead to medication dispensing errors. Additionally, ePrescribing has been shown to promote the use of generic drugs and increase formulary compliance, saving money for both patients and health plans. Despite these benefits, only about three percent of U.S. physicians actively use ePrescribing technology.
Medco Leads the Way on ePrescribing
This is Medco's second major ePrescribing effort. In 2005, Medco joined
forces with the three largest U.S. auto companies - General Motors, Ford
and Chrysler - to launch the Southeast Michigan ePrescribing Initiative
(SEMI). Between 2005 and 2007, approximately 2,700 participating physicians
have generated nearly 6.2 million prescriptions using ePrescribing
technology. A recent analysis of SEMI found that ePrescribing substantially
improved patient safety by alerting physicians of risks related to drug
interactions and other potential medication errors and resulted in a
significant number of prescription changes that prevented potential adverse
events. Formulary compliance also improved. The review of 3.3 million
electronic prescriptions showed:
-- A severe or moderate drug-to-drug alert was sent to physicians for more
than 1 million prescriptions (33 percent), resulting in nearly 423,000
(41 percent) of those prescriptions being changed or canceled by the
-- More than 100,000 medication allergy alerts were presented, of which
more than 41,000 (41 percent) were acted upon; and
-- When a formulary alert was presented, 39 percent of the time the
physician changed the prescription to comply with formulary
"The SEMI program results show that ePrescribing can have a big impact on patient safety and overall health care costs," continued Driscoll. "Medicare Part D provides the right opportunity to introduce many more physicians to ePrescribing, a key step toward improving patient safety for this critical segment of the population and reducing the cost of prescription health care in the Medicare program."
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2006 total net revenues of more than $42 billion. Medco's prescription drug benefit programs, covering 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. Medco, the world's most advanced pharmacy(TM) has created Therapeutic Resource Centers(TM) that are staffed with hundreds of specialist pharmacists trained and certified in specific chronic and complex conditions and have expertise in the medications that treat them. Medco is the nation's largest diabetes pharmacy care practice based on covered lives with the 2007 acquisition of the Liberty Medical, and the largest specialty pharmacy based on net revenues with the 2005 acquisition of Accredo Health, Incorporated. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2007 Fortune 500 list. On the Net: http://www.medco.com.
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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