Navigation Links
CVS Caremark, Harvard and Brigham and Women's Research Shows Generic Medications are Changing the Economics of Treating Chronically Ill Patients

WOONSOCKET, R.I., July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the nation seeks to expand health care coverage to more citizens without adding burdensome costs, researchers from Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) reported that preventative health care may be significantly less costly than previously thought, due to expanded use of cost-effective generic medications for the treatment and prevention of chronic disease.


A study released today in the July issue of Health Affairs concludes that preventive health care is considerably less costly than previous industry estimates, because earlier studies projected financial impact based on costs of branded medications. Today, the cost to consumers and the health care system are significantly lower because generics are broadly available for most chronic diseases, the researchers said.

For example, an influential 2008 study looking at preventing cardiovascular disease used branded medications to estimate the cost for lowering LDL cholesterol at $83,327 per quality adjusted life year (QALY), a financial measure that evaluates the impact of improving the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases. Today, recalculating for the same treatment using generic alternatives would be $17,084 per QALY, or 20 percent of the original estimate. More dramatic is a cost comparison for treating for glucose control in cardiovascular patients, with the 2008 study estimating a $48,759 per QALY cost, versus the study's recalculation with generics at $1,022 per QALY, just two percent of the original estimate.  

With more than 70 percent of health care costs in the U.S. spent treating patients who have one or more chronic disease, the researchers said generic medications are changing the economics of treating chronically ill patients.  "Prevention of cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death in the U.S., is central to any policy discussion about overall health care costs. Approximately 80 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease with annual costs in the U.S. reaching $475 billion. Cardiovascular disease prevention can be largely accomplished with low-cost generic medications," they said.

"There is no question prevention is more affordable with the use of generics," said William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS, of Harvard and Brigham and Women's and lead author of the study. "Policy makers looking to improve and expand health care options should make sure generics are readily accessible for chronically ill patients. In addition, the topic of generics and effective preventive treatment should be central to any debate on making health care more affordable."

"No matter who holds the financial risk – the patient, employer or government health plan – using generic medications has to be a key part of managing treatment for chronically ill patients. This is a practical solution we need to focus on as we work to operate the health care system in a more cost-effective way," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice present and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, also a study author.  

The research team included recommendations for policy makers to consider, such as:

  • Promoting the use of generics in the new Accountable Care Organizations treatment standards, where there are incentives to prevent adverse health outcomes while lowering overall healthcare costs.
  • Limiting the use of prescription writing practices such as Dispense as Written – where doctors and patients can require their prescription be filled as a specific brand -- and amending state Medicaid statutes that require patient consent before generics can be substituted, because those practices add billions to the cost of treatment, according to previous CVS Caremark-sponsored research.
  • Making sure e-prescribing guidelines encourage the use of more cost-effective medications.
  • Developing education programs for physicians and patients around the effectiveness of generics to offset some long-held biases that generics are not as effective as brand medications.
  • Developing new incentive programs through pharmacy benefit and health care plans that promote the use of generics.

Today's Health Affairs study is a product of a three-year research collaboration between CVS Caremark, Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital that is focusing on understanding why many consumers do not take their prescriptions as directed, and developing solutions to improve behavior of patients around their medications. Annual excess health care costs due to medication non-adherence in the U.S. are estimated to be as much as $300 billion annually.

About CVS Caremark

CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care. We are uniquely positioned to engage plan members in behaviors that improve their health and to lower overall health care costs for health plans, plan sponsors and their members. CVS Caremark is a market leader in mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and retail clinics, and is a leading provider of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As one of the country's largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), we provide access to a network of approximately 65,000 pharmacies, including more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy® stores that provide unparalleled service and capabilities. Our clinical offerings include our signature Pharmacy Advisor™ program as well as innovative generic step therapy and genetic benefit management programs that promote more cost effective and healthier behaviors and improve health care outcomes. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Company's website at

Media Contact:
Christine Cramer
CVS Caremark
(401)770 3317

Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. UCB Launches Research Alliance with Harvard University
2. Harvard Medical School Faculty Advances Drug Safety Research With IBM Business Analytics
3. InteKrin Therapeutics Co-Founder Receives Appointment as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
4. FDA Awards Contract to Harvard Pilgrim to Develop Pilot for Safety Monitoring System
5. Harvard Medical Expert Criticizes PGA Tour, Calls Decision to Suspend Doug Barron for Doping Unreasonable, Unfair and Discriminatory
6. Millar Instruments and Harvard Apparatus Improve Ability to Provide Customers With Total Physiology Solutions Through Joint Distribution Agreement
7. New Effort to Battle Antibiotic Resistance Rallies Researchers Throughout Harvard University
8. Stemgent Announces Sponsorship of Harvard Stem Cell Institute Seminar Series;
9. Edifecs, CAQH and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Will Examine CORE Phase II Testing Outcomes and Lessons Learned at HIMSS09 Interoperability Showcase
10. Harvard Study Shows Folic Acid, B Vitamins in Animi-3(R) May Prevent Vision Loss
11. BASF Officially Launches the Collaborative Advanced Research Initiative at Harvard University
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/2/2015)... 2015 TB Alliance and its partners ... medicines in the correct doses. The improved treatments ... set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in ... administer and affordable. The availability of these products ... by UNITAID. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... and VANCOUVER , Dec. 1, 2015 ... OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: OGXI ) announced today ... on the pre-planned interim futility analysis of the intent-to-treat ... safety issues were identified by the DMC. Both the ... final results are expected in the second half of ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 01, 2015 ... the "Spinal Muscular Atrophy Market - ... 2015 - 2023" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Spinal ... Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023" ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... According to an article published on ... claim against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, claiming that any states ... are breaking the clause in the law prohibiting the denial of coverage for pre-existing ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... there are professionals who believe that with innovative technologies and under the right ... patient to get the benefit of a dual-approach to his or her therapeutic ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... It’s official: Tattoo taboo ... — a number even greater among Millennials (a whopping one in three aged 18 ... more people who are dissatisfied with their ink. In fact, RealSelf , the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... For the ... is why Hollister Incorporated has launched the VaPro Plus Pocket™ touch free hydrophilic ... the VaPro touch free catheter portfolio,” said Michael Gresavage, Vice President North America. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Lutronic, a leading innovator of aesthetic ... addition to the devices for sale in the United States. Clarity is a ... 1064 nm Nd:YAG lasers, into a single platform that is easy to own and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):