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Medco, State of New Mexico and Community Pharmacists Launch SOCRxATES® Program to Close Critical Medication-Related Gaps in Healthcare, Improving Outcomes and Lowering Costs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) today announced it has brought its groundbreaking SOCRxATES® community pharmacy program to State of New Mexico employees and their dependents. SOCRxATES is a care improvement program that enables community pharmacists to identify and assist patients with chronic medical conditions and gaps in care, such as medication non-adherence.  Medco launched its first SOCRxATES demonstration project in Illinois in December 2009.


Medco is collaborating with the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, New Mexico Pharmacists Association and the State of New Mexico General Services Department, Risk Management Division, New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority, New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority and Albuquerque Public Schools on the program.

"The SOCRxATES program addresses several vital aspects of real healthcare reform.  It transforms traditional competitors into collaborators; creates a partnership across private business, public employers and local colleges of pharmacy; and leverages advanced pharmacy technology to efficiently identify and effectively close gaps in care for patients who are suffering chronic and complex conditions – patients who account for 96 percent of all drug costs and 75 percent of all medical spending," said Dr. Glen Stettin, Medco's chief medical officer.  "We're receiving positive feedback in Illinois, and we are excited to work with our partners to bring this innovative program to New Mexico."

Medco research revealed more than 1,800 state employees, retirees, and their dependents with chronic or complex conditions may not be taking all the medicines they need to stay healthy or following their doctor's instructions. Medicines that aren't taken can't be effective -- placing employees' health at risk, and unnecessarily burdening taxpayers with higher medical costs.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an estimated one-third to one-half of all patients in the U.S. do not take their medications as prescribed by their doctors; for patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary conditions, non-adherence to essential medications is approximately 50 percent.  Non-adherence has been shown to result in $100 billion each year in excess hospitalizations alone.  

Medco and the University of New Mexico trained approximately 40 community pharmacists to participate in SOCRxATES and learn the most effective means to identify and address underlying patient barriers to close these gaps in care.

New Mexico's SOCRxATES program is providing gaps-in-care alerts in six therapeutic categories --   cardiovascular, diabetes, pulmonary, immunology, women's health and neuroscience.  One example of an alert: a patient at high risk for a heart attack is not taking cholesterol medication as often as prescribed by his or her physician.  Medco has enhanced the program since the Illinois demonstration project, with the addition of two more therapeutic categories and eight more gap-in-care alerts.

Medco analyzes prescription drug records daily to identify patients with potential adherence and omission of care gaps.  Since March of 2011, the company has been transmitting electronic alerts to the trained SOCRxATES pharmacists when potential adherence gaps or omissions are identified.  The SOCRxATES pharmacists can then contact the patient to discuss the alert and an action plan to close the gap in care.

The SOCRxATES pharmacists document the intervention result and action plan they create in collaboration with the patient, caregiver, and/or physician.  Pharmacies are compensated for their participation in the program for each gap in care addressed through counseling.

"This initiative recognizes the value provided by community pharmacists and creates an opportunity to set a new standard for high-quality, personalized patient care, while helping our valued community pharmacies remain competitive in the marketplace.  It's a win for all involved," said Dale Tinker, Executive Director of the NM Pharmacists Association.

Continued Stettin:  "Medco's aim is improving care for its members with chronic medical conditions whether they use the Medco Pharmacy or a partnering community pharmacy.  The SOCRxATES pharmacists have an important role, and we are proud to support them with the information and technology they need to help these patients."

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is pioneering the world's most advanced pharmacy® and its clinical research and innovations are part of Medco making medicine smarter™ for more than 65 million members.

With more than 24,000 employees worldwide dedicated to improving patient health and reducing costs for a wide range of public and private sector clients, and 2010 revenue of $66 billion, Medco ranks 34th on the 2011 Fortune 500 list and is named among the world's most innovative, most admired and most trustworthy companies. 

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This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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