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CVS Caremark Sponsored Research Finds Twenty Four Percent of New Prescriptions Never Filled
Date:10/26/2011

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty four percent of patients given a new medication by their doctor did not fill the prescription, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark and published this week in the American Journal of Medicine.  

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Most prior research of patients who do not take medications as prescribed – commonly known as medication non-adherence – looked at patient behavior after filling a first prescription. The advent of electronic prescribing provides the opportunity to track initial prescriptions that may have been previously undetected and gives health care providers a broader look at patients who never fill their new prescriptions.

The newest CVS Caremark-sponsored study evaluated more than 423,000 e-prescriptions written in 2008 by 3,634 doctors for more than 280,000 patients from all 50 states. The study team matched the e-prescriptions with resulting claims data, or in the case of those not filling the prescription, used the lack of a claim within six months to identify primary non-adherence.

"When patients don't take their medications, especially for chronic conditions, they miss an opportunity to improve their health and avoid long-term complications," said Michael A. Fischer, MD, MS, of Brigham and Women's and Harvard Medical School, the lead author of the study. "While some recent research has used e-prescribing data to evaluate primary non-adherence, we were able to study a nationwide sample of patients. Our finding that 24 percent of patients are not filling initial prescriptions reflects slightly higher primary non-adherence than seen in earlier studies."

"CVS Caremark is looking at this issue from every angle," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice president and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark, and a study co-a
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