Pittsburgh Business Group on Health's Prescription Drug Program Beats National Average

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

PITTSBURGH, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- By uniting and leveraging the power of aggregated numbers, the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health (PBGH) on behalf of its member companies, negotiated better pricing, guarantees and dedicated service teams for prescription drug benefits. Through its partnership with PharmaCare, the PBGH Prescription Drug Program has shown impressive results.

"The 2004 overall trend of 4.1 percent when compared to the 14.3 percent trends reported in national surveys is an indication of the Program's success," says Christine Whipple, executive director of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health. "Putting this into perspective, participating PBGH member companies, in total, avoided spending an additional $7.6 million for drug benefits -- results achieved without sacrificing member access and satisfaction."

Since its inception in 2000, the Program membership has grown between 20 and 40 percent annually and now covers more than 150,000 members. Approximately 17 percent of the total is retirees over age 65. Embedding clinical and patient care management into the Program, along with providing extensive experience information to equip employers in making timely and proactive benefit decisions, influenced the final results. In fact, three member companies experienced a negative gross per member trend.

"Given that overall medical inflation is still in the double digits, a trend of four percent is a recognizable achievement," said Donna Frisch, manager of Corporate Health Benefits for H.J. Heinz and PBGH president. "Proactive and flexible account management has been key to the success of the PBGH Program, allowing member companies the ability to meet specific goals and objectives. At Heinz we are able to educate employees at multiple plant operations across the country targeting the particular needs of each location."

PharmaCare, one of the country's leading prescription benefit managers, administers the program and contributed to the lower trend. Its patient- specific and physician engagement initiatives designed to ensure appropriate drug use, promote generic utilization and encourage other behavior changes resulted in recognizable savings for both employees and member employers.

"For five years, we've been proud to deliver PBGH members promised savings through innovative trend and cost management activities," said Greg Weishar, president and CEO of PharmaCare. "The results of the PBGH program demonstrate the value of our partnership, as well as the commitment we have to develop opportunities specifically for PBGH member companies."

Some members also implemented benefit design changes including mandatory mail, preferred formularies, and active management of high cost, biotech drug utilization.

The Prescription Drug Program enables employers, regardless of size, to take advantage of the power of group purchasing. "For smaller companies, having the ability to maintain their individuality is important," said David Barensfeld, president and CEO of Ellwood Group, Inc., a manufacturer of engineered, heavy metal sections and a participating PBGH member. "But the key benefit for the smaller employer is being able to combine with a larger purchasing pool to obtain the most cost-effective solution to offer competitive benefits. The enhanced services and data reporting are an added bonus that makes being part of the PBGH Program an easy decision."

About the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health

Founded in 1981, the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health (PBGH) is a non- profit organization and business-only coalition representing 62 member organizations, more than 1 million employees, dependents and retirees, and over $3 billion in health care expenditures. The organization strives to improve the delivery, cost and quality of health care through implementing and supporting quality initiatives, analyzing health care data and resources, and providing forums for exchange of ideas and viewpoints. http://www.pbghpa.com

About PharmaCare

PharmaCare is one of the largest pharmaceutical benefit management companies in the country. PharmaCare helps large employers, managed care organizations, insurance companies, unions and government agencies make safe, cost effective drug decisions for over 30 million Americans. The company's comprehensive PBM services include fully integrated, state-of-the-art mail- service pharmacies and one of the largest specialty operations in the country. PharmaCare fills prescriptions at more than 56,800 retail pharmacies, located in all 50 states, and in nearly every city. PharmaCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of CVS Corporation (NYSE: CVS). http://www.pharmacare.com