Health Care Decoded: Increasing Access and Affordability

Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Donald Dempsey recently represented CVS Health at Roll Call’s Health Care Decoded on a panel titled, “Access, Affordability and Government Spending.” The session was part of a larger summit on key health care issues, such as health care costs and drug pricing.

During the discussion, Mr. Dempsey highlighted several ways CVS Health is helping people access affordable care: increasing access to lower cost drugs; providing tools to help patients take their medications; and utilizing pharmacy benefit management (PBM) strategies to drive down costs. He also offered insights into the role that public policy could play to further support these efforts across the health care system.

Increasing Visibility into Patients’ Drug Costs

Mr. Dempsey touched on how increasing transparency into patients’ drug benefits at the point of prescribing and at the pharmacy counter helps prescribers and patients better understand options before a script is written. CVS Caremark’s real-time benefits, for example, allows prescribers to view a patient’s drug coverage and identify member-specific medication costs for a specific drug, as well as potential therapeutic alternatives. This can help prescribers and patients make more informed decisions and find the lowest cost, clinically effective treatment for their care.

Helping Patients Stay Adherent to the Medications

Mr. Dempsey also noted that patients who stay adherent to medication have lower health care costs and better health outcomes. That is why CVS Health has developed a number of programs and tools to make medication management easier, including:

Part of ensuring patients remain adherent is ensuring they get the greatest value for the cost of their medications; CVS Health has been exploring how value-based drug formulary models can help patients do so. And while progress has been made, removing regulatory barriers, like anti-kickback statutes and civil money penalties, could promote more collaboration and innovation around value-based solutions for patients.

Leveraging Competition to Drive Down Costs

Mr. Dempsey underscored how CVS Health deploys several PBM strategies that use competition to drive drug price reductions for beneficiaries. Leveraging competition to negotiate discounts, identifying and including clinically appropriate drug options at reduced prices in our formulary, and working to align drug prices with their value to our beneficiaries help reduce the cost of care for our patients. Beyond our PBM strategies, we also support policy solutions that promote competition, such as the CREATES Act, which seeks to remove barriers to competition to further drive down drug costs.

Mr. Dempsey’s co-panelists included Donald May of AdvaMed and Rodney Whitlock of Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, who echoed the need for increased competition and broader collaboration to drive down the cost of care and drug prices. 

For more information on how CVS Health is working to expand access to more affordable and effective health care, check out our Cost of Care information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.