Bob Beamon, Peggy Fleming, Bruce Jenner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Greg Louganis and Mark Spitz Educate Americans on the Importance of Specialized
FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In years past, each has battled for Olympic gold. Today they are fighting a new battle- waging a personal campaign against chronic and complex diseases.
Ringing in a new era in healthcare, Olympic gold medal athletes and Medco Health Solutions, Inc.'s (NYSE: MHS) specialist pharmacists and executives today ring The Opening Bell(SM) of the New York Stock Exchange launching Medco's "Tour of Champions," a nationwide tour educating Americans about a revolutionary advancement in pharmacy care designed to deliver better clinical and financial outcomes.
Bob Beamon, Peggy Fleming, Bruce Jenner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Greg Louganis and Mark Spitz are all known for their athletic achievements but few people are aware that each of them is dealing with a chronic or complex healthcare condition. Today they are guided by Medco specialist pharmacists who focus on their specific diseases. These champions will begin traveling the country, providing encouragement to the millions of Americans who receive treatment for chronic and complex medical conditions.
These medalists will share their stories of courage, achievement and challenge to underscore the importance of specialized pharmacy care in maintaining good health.
The achievers in Medco's Tour of Champions know first-hand the benefits of specialized coaching in their quest for gold. Today each is working with Medco specialist pharmacists to help ensure they receive optimized pharmacy treatment for their individual health challenges -- the same benefits available to patients served by Medco.
"Having an HIV pharmacist I could turn to, someone who has specialized training in and knowledge of HIV medications, would have made an incredible difference," said four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis. "With the time limitations that physicians have, if I could have confided with a specialist pharmacist who knew my medical and medication history and would keep it confidential, I may have learned to better manage my HIV sooner."
Added Peggy Fleming, the world-renown figure skater who is winning her war with breast cancer: "I didn't think of my pharmacist as a resource back then. It gives me peace of mind now knowing that I can turn to Medco's oncology pharmacists, who know my medication history."
Medco estimates that 50 percent of the population -- those under treatment for chronic and complex conditions -- account for 96 percent of all drug spending, making it critical for patients to more effectively manage the treatment.
"As in medicine -- or in sports -- specialization is also the future of pharmacy," said David B. Snow Jr., Medco's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Just as specialized training was critical for each of these athletes to optimize their performance, and just as the move from generalized care to specialists transformed the practice of medicine, specialized pharmacy care helps enable patients to optimize their health. Now, millions of Americans have access to the same advanced pharmacy care that we are providing to these Olympic champions -- a new paradigm in pharmacy practice designed to improve the health of our members and lower the cost of care."
About half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, and half of seniors take three or more, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. People with chronic and complex conditions often take multiple medications, see more than one doctor and visit several pharmacies, which can lead to serious medication safety issues. Statistics reveal that more Americans die each year from medical errors than from highway accidents, and medication errors are at the top of that list.
To help address this crisis, Medco has developed an innovative approach to help improve and advance pharmacy care. Medco has created condition-specific resource centers that are staffed with hundreds of pharmacists who receive training and certification in specific chronic conditions and have expertise in the drugs used to treat them. With this training and concentrated practice, Medco's specialist pharmacists can offer deeper, more specific guidance when a medication safety issue arises.
Medco's specialist pharmacists focus on some of the most common chronic conditions Americans face including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and asthma. Aided by advanced, integrated databases that provide real-time prescription medication history, and medical diagnoses (when available), specialist pharmacists can collaborate with doctors and their patients on drug safety issues. Specialist pharmacists may also consult with physicians to help ensure that members receive the most affordable medications.
"People don't believe that I have high cholesterol, but it's a fact," said Mark Spitz, who holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympic Games. "I take medication every day because my doctor told me that diet and exercise are not enough to keep my cholesterol down to help prevent a heart attack or stroke. It's reassuring to know that I have a safety net at Medco."
The Tour of Champions
The Tour of Champions will take these six Olympic legends to major cities throughout the country over the next 15 months.
"I am proud to be part of this national effort to help the millions of Americans who have trouble getting the prescriptions and pharmacy care they need to stay healthy," said Jackie Joyner-Kersee, three-time Olympic gold medalist, four-time world champion and current heptathlon record-holder, who manages chronic asthma.
The six gold medal Olympians who comprise the Tour of Champions are:
* Bob Beamon (diabetes) -- 1968 Olympic gold medalist for the long jump
and still the Olympic world record holder;
* Peggy Fleming (breast cancer survivor) -- figure skater with five U.S.
titles, three world titles, and the only U.S. gold medal winner at the
1968 Winter Games;
* Bruce Jenner (arthritis/caregiver) -- winner of the decathlon in the
1976 Summer Olympics;
* Jackie Joyner-Kersee (asthma) -- three-time Olympic gold medalist, four-
time world champion and current heptathlon world record-holder;
* Greg Louganis (HIV positive) -- four-time Olympic gold medalist, six-
time world champion, and a winner of 47 national championship titles for
* Mark Spitz (high cholesterol) -- swimmer and 9-time Olympic gold
For more information about the Tour of Champions promotion, visit http://www.tourofchampions.com
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 60 million members, 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's technologically advanced mail-order pharmacies and award-winning Internet pharmacy have been recognized for setting new industry benchmarks for pharmacy dispensing quality. Medco serves the needs of patients with complex conditions requiring sophisticated treatment through its specialty pharmacy operation, which became the nation's largest 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 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
|SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.|
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