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CVS Caremark Study Finds Medication Adherence Leads to Lower Health Care Costs, Even After Accounting for Increased Prescription Drug Spending
Date:1/6/2011

Brennan said CVS Caremark plans to share the study with health care regulators and federal legislators as they consider policies to reduce health care costs.

The study population included patients in the CVS Caremark book of business with congestive heart failure (16,353), diabetes (42,080), hypertension (112,757) and dyslipidemia (53,401). "Across all conditions, adherence was associated with significantly lower annual inpatient hospital days," the study found.

Among the disease specific findings are:

  • People with congestive heart failure spent $39,076 on average annually, and had an average of 11.9 days in the hospital.  Those with congestive heart failure were older, averaging 77 years of age.
  • Diabetes costs per patient on average were $17,955 annually and these patients had an average of 4.26 days in the hospital.
  • Hypertension patients spent $14,813 on average annually and had 3.29 days on average in the hospital.
  • The annual spend for a person being treated for dyslipidemia was $12,688 on average. Hospital stays for these patients were 2.24 days on average.

  • Pharmacy costs for the patients ranged from $2,867 to $3,780 per year.

    The researchers also found that adherence effects were more pronounced in elderly patients sixty-five years and older. They commented that changes in the recently passed health reform law for Medicare, reducing prescription costs for beneficiaries by eliminating the doughnut hole and providing for therapy management and wellness programs, "were prudent." They recommend policy analysts take a harder look at how adherence programs and incentives might bend the health care cost curve downward.

    "No matter what the intervention, the researchers agreed that actively encouraging medication adherence for chronic disease should be a top priority," noted M. Christopher Roebuck, director of strategic research for CVS Caremark and lead author of the study. "Despite hi
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    SOURCE CVS Caremark
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