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CVS Caremark Research Finds Correlation Between Amount of Patient Co-pay and Prescription Abandonment
Date:11/16/2010

30, 2008.  Of the prescriptions that were abandoned, more than half were never filled at any pharmacy, while some were filled at other pharmacies at a later date.  The team concluded that the pharmacy industry would benefit from learning more about prescription abandonment, which they said is an addressable factor impacting patient adherence to their medication.

The researchers said the higher rate of abandonment for e-prescriptions appears to occur because patients with written prescriptions must proactively bring the request for medications to the pharmacy, while patients with e-prescriptions are not required to take any step to begin the prescription filling process.  In addition, the rate of e-prescription abandonment appears high because pharmacies are able to track them as abandoned versus paper prescriptions that are never actually brought to a pharmacy.

The researchers said that if the 3.27 percent abandonment rate observed during the study period is applied to the 3.6 billion prescriptions filled at pharmacies in 2008, approximately 110 million prescriptions would be abandoned.

The researchers outlined a predictive model for pharmacists to apply to help them recognize likely candidates for abandonment that includes:

  • Reviewing the individual's benefit plan and tiered co-pays.  The study said cost is the strongest predictor of abandonment. The data shows a 1.4 percent prescription abandonment rate for patients with co-pays of $10 or less, a 3.4 percent rate for patients with co-pays between $30 and $40 and a 4.7 percent rate for patients with co-pays of $50.
  • Understanding past pharmacy behavior. Patients with first-fill prescriptions are three times more likely to abandon prescriptions than those who are re-filling their medication.
  • Identifying the age of the patient. Younger patients are more likely than older patients to abandon their medications.  
  • Reviewing the drug class. &#
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  • SOURCE CVS Caremark
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