WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) is sponsoring research to investigate patient adherence to prescription drug therapies and identify ways to increase adherence. Working with researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital, the company expects knowledge gained from the research will help health professionals better understand patient behavior and lead to developing programs that health care providers and pharmacies can use to improve medication adherence and ultimately help improve patient care and medical outcomes by avoiding costly hospital treatment.
Non-adherence to essential chronic medications has been widely recognized as a major public health problem, according to prior research cited in numerous medical journals. One quarter of original prescriptions for essential medications are never filled, and patients with important chronic diseases such as diabetes and coronary artery disease adhere to their medication only about half of the time. Non-adherence to essential medications is a frequent cause of preventable hospitalizations and patient illness, with costs to the U.S. health care system estimated at over $200 billion annually. A better understanding of the predictors of non-adherence and strategies to improve medication use has the potential to meaningfully impact the public health.
"As the nation looks for ways to reduce health care spending, we need to improve patient compliance with prescribed drug therapies," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark. "Many reasons have been discussed for patient non-adherence, including cost, forgetfulness, confusion when taking multiple medications, and problems with renewing a prescription. This research, which will be available not only to CVS affiliates but to all pharmacies, will help doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and health plans design programs to help patients stay on their prescribed medication treatments."
Dr. Brennan says non-compliance with a prescribed drug reduces or eliminates the positive effects of a medication. Patients who fail to take prescriptions properly can face unnecessary and costly treatments, such as hospital admissions, re-admissions, and surgeries. Patients are considered to be non-compliant if they do not fill a new prescription or do not refill an existing one, take appropriate medication incorrectly (e.g., on the wrong schedule) or take the wrong medication dose (e.g., dose is too low).
To address this significant public health problem, CVS Caremark, through a research agreement, is working with faculty from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences to develop an interdisciplinary initiative to improve medication use. The interdisciplinary approach allows experts in disciplines like psychology, sociology and political studies to bring their expertise about patient behavior and health care policy to bear on a complex public health problem.
This research collaboration has four key components:
"This research will help us understand the reasons why patients do not take their medications as prescribed. We will use this information to develop effective, evidence-based approaches to improve prescription adherence," said William Shrank, M.D., MSHS of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and principal investigator of the program. "We'll strive to better understand barriers to adherence that range from patient characteristics (e.g. income or marital status); patients' attitudes about their condition and the importance of medicine; understanding how to take medications appropriately; the impact of complex therapy; and, the trust and communication between the patient, the physician and the pharmacist. We hope this research will help us create strategies to promote wellness in our patients. "
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 7,000 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, CVS.com. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Investor Relations section of the Company's Web site, at cvscaremark.com/investors, as well as through the press room section of the Company's Web site, at cvscaremark.com/newsroom.
Contacts: Jon Sandberg Nancy Christal Corporate Communications Senior Vice President (401) 770-4914 Investor Relations (914) 722-4704
SOURCE CVS Caremark
|SOURCE CVS Caremark|
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