CVS Caremark Medication Adherence Report Identifies Significant Opportunities for Health Care Cost-Savings Across All 50 U.S. States

Thursday, June 27, 2013

WOONSOCKET, R.I., June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The U.S. health care system could avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs if medication adherence rates improved, according to the CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) 2013 State of the States: Adherence Report released today. Drawing on data from the 2012 CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) book of business, the State of the States report projects potential cost-savings within each state by examining medication adherence rates and the use of generic drugs across four common health conditions: diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) and depression. The potential cost-savings among the states range from $19 million to $2.1 billion based on state member characteristics.

For the first time, the report also looks at three distinct market segments serviced by CVS Caremark's PBM businesshealth plans, employer-sponsored plans, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs)to show differences in adherence across the pharmacy benefit marketplace. An interactive online hub developed in conjunction with the report allows audiences to filter data based on market segment, health condition and adherence measure to gain deeper insight into a specific state or draw comparisons across them. States with the highest overall adherence measures within each market segment are listed below:

Highest overall


Possession Ratio

(MPR) by state

Highest overall


Dispensing Rate

(GDR) by state

Highest overall

First Fill

Persistency Rate

(FFPR) by state

Highest overall

Percent 90-day

dispensing by


Health Plans

MD (81.9%)

MN (93.4%)

PA (79.8%)

ME (74.7%)


VT (84.7%)

MN (92.4%)

VT (81.1%)

CT (55.5%)


ME (86.3%)

MA (92.0%)

NJ (94.2%)

AK (54.1%)

"This data offers policymakers and the health care industry a new look at adherence across geography, health condition and prescription insurance status, and demonstrates the need for increased adoption of interventions that can improve medication adherence in order to advance health outcomes for patients and lessen the cost burden for the health care system," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark. "We at CVS Caremark use this data to conduct research and develop programs that help patients, providers and insurers improve adherence and lower costs across the board."

While state-specific data is the focus of this report, the data also showed some important overall trends in medication adherence across the country:

  • Across all market segments (health plans, employer-sponsored plans and Medicare Part D plans), patients with depression generally had the lowest adherence rates, while patients with hypertension were most adherent.
  • Medicare beneficiaries had the highest adherence rates across the three groups.
  • Ninety-day dispensing rates were generally highest among members of employer-sponsored plans.
  • Regional variations were apparent across the groups. The lowest adherence rates for health plan members with diabetes and depression occurred in the Midwest, while the lowest rates for patients with any condition in employer-sponsored plans and Medicare Part D occurred in the South.

Medication nonadherence in the U.S. accounts for up to $290 billion in excess health care costs annually.1 Research shows that interventions such as pharmacist counseling are cost-effective and contribute to improved adherence behavior, highlighting the central role that pharmacists and other health care professionals can play in helping patients effectively managing chronic diseases. This is demonstrated by the CVS Caremark Pharmacy Advisor counseling program, which provides customized counseling to patients and has been shown to increase adherence rates up to 3.9 percent and return $3 in savings for every $1 spent on counseling.2

"CVS Caremark has industry-leading tools to improve medication adherence and generic utilization to drive down health care costs for companies and consumers," said Helena Foulkes, Executive Vice President and Chief Health Care Strategy and Marketing Officer. "The State of the States report provides insights that enable health care professionals and policymakers to understand state-specific nuances that can help improve adherence rates. We hope this report will contribute to the dialogue around how to make that happen."

In addition to the 2013 State of the States report, the CVS Caremark Pharmacy Care Research Institute (PCRI) also released Advancing Adherence and the Science of Pharmacy Care: Volume III, a compendium of adherence research conducted by CVS Caremark and its research partners over the last several years. The publication includes summaries of adherence research on contributing factors, financial impact, interventions and policy considerations.

The CVS Caremark Pharmacy Care Research Institute (PCRI) is focused on advancing the science of pharmacy care through research focused on medication adherence and other clinical pharmacy care topics. As one element of this research, CVS Caremark has been working in a multi-year collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital to research pharmacy claims data in order to better understand the factors that influence medication adherence.

A full copy of the CVS Caremark 2013 State of the States: Adherence Report and the research compendium, Advancing Adherence and the Science of Pharmacy Care are available at

CVS Caremark will host a live webinar for members of the media today at 10:00 a.m. ET to discuss the report in-depth. To view, please visit: (pre-registration required).

About CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark is dedicated to helping people on their path to better health as the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States. Through the company's more than 7,400 CVS/pharmacy stores; its leading pharmacy benefit manager serving more than 60 million plan members; and its retail health clinic system, the largest in the nation with more than 600 MinuteClinic locations, it is a market leader in mail order, retail and specialty pharmacy, retail clinics, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As a pharmacy innovation company with an unmatched breadth of capabilities, CVS Caremark continually strives to improve health and lower costs by developing new approaches such as its unique Pharmacy Advisor program that helps people with chronic diseases such as diabetes obtain and stay on their medications. Find more information about how CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy for better health at

1 New England Healthcare Institute. Thinking Outside the Pillbox: A System-Aide approach to Improving Patient Medication Adherence for Chronic Disease. August 2009.

2 Brennan TA, Dollear TJ, Hu M, Matlin OS, Shrank WH, Choudhry NK, Grambley W. An Integrated Pharmacy-Based Program Improved Medication Prescription and Adherence Rates in Diabetes Patients. Health Affairs, January 2012; 31(1).

Media Contacts:

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SOURCE CVS Caremark Pharmacy Services