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For Patients on Statins, Study Finds Filling 90 Day Supply Prescriptions through Mail Service Compared to Retail Pharmacy is Associated with Less Waste

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study shows 90-day statin drug claims filled through a mail service pharmacy are associated with less waste than a 90-day supply from a retail pharmacy. The findings of the study by Prime Therapeutics (Prime), a thought leader in pharmacy benefit management, will be presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's 23rd Annual Meeting and Showcase, taking place in Minneapolis, Minn. April 27-29.

Waste occurs when patients stop taking their medication, as a result of a dosage or drug switch, before the entire supply is used. Increasingly, patients with chronic conditions are moving to 90-day prescriptions, and previous studies have shown those receiving a 90-day prescription adhere better to their medications compared to those with a 30-day prescription.

"As an increasing number of patients move to 90-day prescriptions, this study shows we have an opportunity to reduce medication waste as a result of a dosage or drug switch if patients fill their prescription through mail service," said Patrick Gleason, PharmD, director of Clinical Outcomes Assessment, Prime.

For the study, researchers reviewed the claims of 51,261 Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) members who received statin prescriptions to identify those with overlapping claims. Researchers reviewed prescriptions filled from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, via a retail pharmacy 30-day supply, a retail pharmacy 90-day supply and a mail service 90-day supply.

The results of the study show 3,996 of the 51,261 members (7.8 percent) with a statin claim had at least one day of waste, and the average days of waste was 24. Those receiving a 90-day supply via retail pharmacy had significantly higher waste (p<0.001) than those receiving their prescription through 30-day retail supply or 90-day mail service. Among those who received their medication through 90-day retail supply, those who were unable to use their entire prescription averaged 38.7 days of waste, compared to 35.9 days of waste among those with a 90-day mail service prescription who did not use all of their prescription. In comparison, patients filling a statin prescription via a retail pharmacy 30-day supply who did not use all of their medication averaged 12.4 days of waste.

"Physicians that are prescribing long-term statin medications to patients already established on a drug for chronic cardiovascular disease should consider having their patient fill their prescription via mail service to help reduce medication waste," said Gleason. "For many patients, not only are 90-day mail service supplies associated with reduced waste, they save consumers money and time."

Prime Therapeutics is a pharmacy benefit management company dedicated to providing innovative, clinically-based, cost-effective pharmacy solutions for clients and members. Providing pharmacy benefit services nationwide to nearly 17 million covered lives, its client base includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, employer and union groups, and third-party administrators. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, Prime Therapeutics is collectively owned by 12 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, subsidiaries or affiliates of those Plans. Learn more at

SOURCE Prime Therapeutics
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