Navigation Links
CVS Caremark Research Finds "Dispense as Written" Prescriptions May Add $7.7 Billion to Annual Health Care Costs

WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately five percent of prescriptions submitted by CVS Caremark Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) members in a 30-day period during 2009 included a "dispense as written" (DAW) designation. This practice – whereby doctors or patients demand the dispensing of a specific brand-name drug and not a generic alternative – costs the health care system up to $7.7 billion annually, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark. Moreover, these requests reduce the likelihood that patients actually fill new prescriptions for essential chronic conditions.


In a study published this week in the American Journal of Medicine, the researchers demonstrate that DAW designations for prescriptions have important implications for medication adherence. They found that when starting new essential therapy, chronically ill patients with DAW prescriptions were 50 to 60 percent less likely to actually fill the more expensive brand name prescriptions than generics. "Although dispense as written requests would seem to reflect a conscious decision by patients or their physicians to use a specific agent, the increased cost sharing that results for the patient may decrease the likelihood that patients actually fill their prescriptions," the researchers said.

"This study shows that dispense as written requests are costing the health care system billions," said William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard, and the study's lead author.  "The further irony is that patients with prescriptions specifying a certain brand seem less likely to fill their initial prescriptions, adding to the medication non-adherence problem."

"Previous to this study, little was known about the frequency with which doctors and patients request dispense as written prescriptions," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark and a study author. "Those who advocate for dispense as written and argue that the practice provides patients and physicians with greater choice will probably be surprised to learn that the practice increases costs and exacerbates non-adherence."

The study reviewed 5.6 million prescriptions adjudicated by CVS Caremark for two million patients from January 1 to January 31, 2009. The review found that 2.7 percent of those prescriptions were designated DAW by doctors, while another two percent were requested DAW by patients.

If existing safe and effective generic alternatives had been provided in place of those brand-specific prescriptions, patients would have saved $1.7 million and health plans would have spent $10.6 million less for the medications.  The researchers said that assuming a similar rate of DAW requests for the more than 3.6 billion prescriptions filled in the U.S. annually, patient costs could be reduced by $1.2 billion and overall health system costs could be reduced by $7.7 billion.

The study is a product of CVS Caremark's previously announced three-year collaboration with Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital to research pharmacy claims data in order to better understand patient behavior, particularly around medication adherence.  Annual excess health care costs due to medication non-adherence in the U.S. have been estimated to be as much as $290 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 7,100 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 Web site at

Media Contact:
Jon Sandberg
CVS Caremark
(401)770 4914

Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. CVS Caremark Charitable Trust Makes Initial Donation of $100,000 to Relief Effort in Japan
2. CVS Caremark Announces Agreement With ActiveHealth Management for Evidence-Based Clinical Decision Support
3. CVS Caremark and Universal American Announce Termination of Hart-Scott-Rodino Waiting Period
4. CVS Caremark Awarded Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute Rx Benefit Innovation Award for Pharmacy Advisor Program
5. CVS Caremark Corporation to Hold Fourth Quarter 2010 Conference Call
6. CVS Caremark Study Evaluates Which Pharmacy Channel Consumers Choose When Given Choice of Mail or Retail Prescriptions
7. CVS Caremark Announces Interim Leadership for Retail Business
8. CVS Caremark Study Finds Patients with Complex Therapies Struggle to Stay Adherent to their Medications
9. CVS Caremark Study Finds Medication Adherence Leads to Lower Health Care Costs, Even After Accounting for Increased Prescription Drug Spending
10. CVS CAREMARK to Purchase Universal Americans Medicare Part D Business
11. CVS Caremark to Present at the 29th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  Kevin Smith has been appointed Chief ... pioneer in wireless monitoring of vital signs.  As ... , Mr. Smith will be responsible for the ... He will also directly oversee partnering with US ... for SensiumVitals, the first early warning detection device ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  PTS Diagnostics, the U.S.-based manufacturer of point-of-care ... A1CNow ® systems, and PTS Detect™ cotinine systems, ... that will propel the company into the mHealth market. ... Europe . The technology is a system that ... smartphones and tablets, and uses test strip technology already ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Wash. and ST. LOUIS ... Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX ) today announced an ... The partnership, which began in 1999, will now extend ... --> After evaluating pharmacy benefit manager ... concluded that Express Scripts continues to offer the best ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The National Association of ... into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is recognized with this ... exclusively for professional women, boasting 850,000 members and over 200 operating Local Chapters. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... carrier to offer individual vision insurance plans on . The multi-carrier ... to rate and review products, allowing consumers to compare, quote and match plans ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Stress, anxiety, illness, infection or ... worry about possible tumors? , Heather Spader, MD, a new pediatric neurosurgeon at Joe ... some signs might point to tumors. , “Bad headaches that don’t go ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... MOSI recently added two ... along with Back to the Jurassic to their collection of interactive exhibits within the ... dynamic worlds that will allow guests to get closer than ever to a range ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Creek, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... MI, the American Cancer Society held an annual fundraising event, a 5K walk known ... a holistic treatment center for substance abuse which is also located in Battle Creek, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):