High cost of specialty drugs makes adherence to therapy more important than ever
WOONSOCKET, R.I., (January 29, 2016) — New research published by the CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute showed a significant improvement in adherence to specialty medications for patients enrolled in a pilot study evaluating Specialty Connect™, CVS Health’s innovative specialty prescription services program. New patients enrolled in the pilot were 17.5 percent more likely to pickup their first refill and existing specialty patients had an 11.4 percentage point improvement in adherence, as compared to a control group. The study was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.
“The specialty market is growing rapidly and new high-cost specialty drugs, that were once limited to small patient populations, are now increasingly being indicated to treat many more patients,” said William Shrank, M.D., chief scientific officer and senior vice president, CVS Health. “As new specialty medications are introduced, adherence to therapy will be particularly important to optimize the benefit of these very expensive medications. Specialty Connect, combined with evidence-based benefit design and utilization management strategies, can increase the likelihood that the most appropriate patients receive specialty medications and that, once received, they take them as prescribed.”
CVS Health piloted the Specialty Connect program in 115 CVS Pharmacy stores before launching the program nationwide. Patients enrolled in the pilot could choose to have medications delivered to their home or doctor’s office or opt to pick up their specialty medications at their local CVS Pharmacy, while receiving specialized clinical support from CVS Specialty, the specialty pharmacy of CVS Health. Since the program’s launch, more than 100,000 patients have been served, with more than half choosing to pick up their specialty prescriptions at retail.
Specialty medicines treat complex conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis C. Many of these medications require special handling, storage and administration. In addition, many specialty drugs are only available at select specialty pharmacies to help ensure compliance with required safety and compliance protocols. As a result, patients often have difficulty with the logistics of filling a new prescription for a specialty medication, with as many as one quarter of traditional retail pharmacies unable to fill a specialty prescription without barriers and/or delays. CVS Specialty is the only specialty pharmacy that offers patients a choice of where to get their medicines, either at any CVS Pharmacy location or through mail delivery, which simplifies getting started on a specialty therapy. In addition, the Specialty Care Team provides round-the-clock support and patient care, including symptom management, claims processing and help managing comorbid conditions.
“CVS Specialty is the only specialty pharmacy that integrates rare disease management and coordinated care programs to make it easier for patients to start and stay on complex treatments,” added Alan Lotvin, M.D., president, CVS Specialty and executive vice president, CVS Health. “Since we launched Specialty Connect across all CVS Pharmacy locations, we have seen high rates of adherence, and our specialty patients have reported extremely high satisfaction with their service.”
The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives. CVS Health Research Institute findings support a continuous quality improvement environment, which encourages product innovation and development to benefit CVS Health patients, clients and their members.
About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,500 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.