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CVS Caremark Study Finds Patients with Complex Therapies Struggle to Stay Adherent to their Medications
Date:1/10/2011

ve multiple doctors, and take medications purchased from multiple pharmacies are less likely to be adherent," said Larry Merlo, president and  chief operating officer of CVS Caremark. "But these findings show that the health care system needs to do a much better job helping these patients consolidate and manage their pharmacy care if we are intent on improving their health outcomes."

The study reviewed pharmacy claims from the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) book of business for 1.83 million patients taking statins, and 1.48 million patients taking angiotensen converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or rennin angiotensen receptor blockers (ARBs) between June 1, 2006 and May 30, 2007. The researchers selected these medicines for review because they are the most widely sold medications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, which is the condition that imposes the greatest clinical and economic burden in the U.S. and abroad.

During a three-month period, patients filled prescriptions for an average of 11 medications representing an average of six different drug classes, the researchers said. "More striking, during this 90-day time frame, 10 percent of these patients filled prescriptions for 23 or more medications . . . and 11 or more different drug classes, had prescriptions written by four or more prescribers, filled these prescriptions at two pharmacies and made 11 or more visits to those pharmacies," they said.

Among solutions discussed in the study are:

  • Creating a centralized pharmacy home -- similar to the concept of a medical home -- where a patient's pharmacy care is evaluated and renewals and refills are better synchronized and managed. This could include providing financial incentives for patients to fill prescriptions at a single pharmacy, so that a single health care professional has a full view of the patient's needs and care.
  • Encouraging programs that reduce complexity of both fill
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  • SOURCE CVS Caremark
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