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CVS Caremark Study Finds Integrated Pharmacy-Based Program Improved Diabetes Medication Initiation and Adherence Rates
Date:1/9/2012

earchers in the analysis of the pharmacy claims data of benefit members at a large Midwest manufacturing company and focused on interventions with diabetic patients between October 2009 and April 2010. The study included an intervention group of 5,123 people who were proactively counseled by retail and call center pharmacists and a control group of 24,124 patients with diabetes who did not receive specialized counseling. The researchers measured gains in patient adherence and medication initiation rates of concomitant therapies for diabetes, such as statins, angiotensen converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

The research showed that contacts by pharmacists with the patients and their doctors increased therapy initiation rates by as much as 39 percent for the full sample and an even higher 68 percent for the group counseled at retail stores, and increased medication adherence rates by 2.1 percent. The researchers noted that face-to-face interventions by retail store pharmacists resulted in increasing adherence rates by 3.9 percent.

The integrated pharmacy-based program featured counseling by pharmacists at 12 retail stores near the manufacturing client's headquarters, and counseling through a dedicated pharmacist call center for those identified as having diabetes. CVS Caremark launched Pharmacy Advisor for diabetes in 2009 because the cost and prevalence of that disease continues to rise. The American Diabetes Association estimates the cost of the disease to the U.S. in 2007 at $174 billion. 

The study estimated that the employer saved more than $600,000 through health care cost avoidance with the intervention group, while expenditures for the counseling totaled $200,000, a return on investment of $3 for every $1 spent on additional counseling. "In a health care system eagerly seeking programs that can reduce costs and improve care, such simple, pharmacist-based counseling programs to improve adheren
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