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CVS Caremark Study Finds Non-Adherent Heart Failure Patients Almost Twice as Likely to be Re-Hospitalized Within a Year

CVS Caremark Proactive Pharmacy Care approach designed to help improve medication adherence to positively impact outcomes and manage costs

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A study released today by CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) found that nearly half of patients hospitalized for heart failure may not be adherent to recommended drug therapies, significantly increasing their risk for subsequent hospitalization within 12 months. The study found that among those patients who were non-adherent to drug therapy, average subsequent hospitalizations per patient in a 12 month period (1.1 re-hospitalizations) were almost twice that of adherent patients (0.6 re-hospitalizations).

"The ongoing challenge of medication non-adherence for patients with heart conditions is well known and, as we see with many chronic conditions, medication adherence for heart failure patients is a significant driver of both long term clinical outcomes and cost impact," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark. "To address this issue, CVS Caremark provides our PBM clients with adherence to drug therapy programs that proactively engage participants, achieve significant gains in converting patients to necessary therapies, improve medication adherence and maintain participant compliance over the long term."

The study examined adherence to key heart failure medications (ACE/ARBs, beta-blockers and diuretics) over the 12-months following a heart failure-related inpatient hospitalization. Results found that 49.9 percent of patients studied were not optimally adherent to their medications and had a medication possession ratio (MPR) of less than 0.80. Across all patients, 41% were re-hospitalized at least once within the 12-month follow-up period; however, the highest rate of re-hospitalization was observed for the non-adherent group.

The CVS Caremark Proactive Pharmacy Care approach is focused on achieving best-in-class results by changing patient behavior to encourage medication adherence and involves clinical interventions throughout the treatment cycle with the right tactics to engage each patient. The Adherence to Drug Therapy solution is a mail and retail based program designed to impact patient behavior through timely interventions that include face-to-face first fill counseling; IVR and Web refill reminders, renewals and pick-up prompts; outreach calls to potentially non-adherent patients from their local CVS pharmacist, to encourage restarting a maintenance medication and personalized letters about the importance of staying on a prescribed therapy sent to patients who have stopped filling a maintenance prescription and their health care provider. The Adherence to Drug Therapy solution helps approximately 88% of heart failure patients maintain optimal adherence to their medications.

In addition, CVS Caremark offers PBM clients the AccordantCare Health Management Program for Heart Failure, which provides a thorough evaluation of clinical tests and procedures based on nationally recognized guidelines that are recommended to enrolled patients and their health care provider.

"The strategies we employ at CVS Caremark to improve medication adherence for heart failure patients have proven benefits for health care outcomes and cost reduction for both the patient and the payor," said Dr. Brennan. "Following are some other key tips for heart failure patients and their caregivers: Make sure you take the medications prescribed by your doctor; Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about how to manage side effects and stay on therapy; If cost is an issue, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about whether less expensive generics are available and Sign-up for an auto-refill program with your retail or mail-order pharmacy to keep your prescription refills on track and on time."

The study evaluated de-identified data for more than 1,000 heart failure patients from CVS Caremark's Medical Claims Research Database who had an in-patient hospitalization for heart failure between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2007. The follow-up period for subsequent hospitalizations was for the 12-months following the initial hospitalization date. All study participants were continuously eligible for medical and pharmacy benefits through the index and follow-up periods. The results from this analysis demonstrate a significant link between medication adherence and health services utilization. However, as in most observational studies, the causal nature of this relationship cannot be strictly determined.

About CVS Caremark

CVS Caremark is the largest provider of prescriptions in the nation. The Company fills or manages more than 1 billion prescriptions annually. Through its unmatched breadth of service offerings, CVS Caremark is transforming the delivery of health care services in the U.S. The Company is uniquely positioned to effectively manage costs and improve health care outcomes through its more than 6,800 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores; its Caremark Pharmacy Services division (pharmacy benefit management, mail order and specialty pharmacy); its retail-based health clinic subsidiary, MinuteClinic; and its online pharmacy, General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Investor Relations section of the Company's Web site, at, as well as through the press room section of the Company's Web site, at

    Media Contact:
    Steve Campanini
    CVS Caremark
    Corporate Communications
    (401) 770-5005

    Christine Cramer
    CVS Caremark
    Corporate Communications
    (401) 770-3317

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