At CVS Caremark, our role as a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) is to negotiate the best price possible for prescription drugs for patients and clients in an environment where prescription list prices are continually rising. Our annual drug trend report illustrates how we work to manage rising drug costs for the employers, health plans and government payors we support. In 2017, despite list price increases near 10 percent by pharmaceutical manufacturers on brand name drugs, CVS Caremark’s PBM solutions reduced drug trend for our commercial clients to keeping drug price growth at a minimal 0.2 percent. Overall, the combination of this nearly flat drug price growth, with low growth in drug utilization of only 1.7 percent, reduced drug trend for commercial clients to 1.9 percent. In addition, 42 percent of CVS Caremark’s commercial clients spent less on their pharmacy benefit plan in 2017 than they had in 2016.
In addition, CVS Caremark helped members of the plans we support reduce monthly out-of-pocket drug costs and improve medication adherence to its highest level in seven years in key categories such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In fact, out-of-pocket costs for our members declined in 2017, with three out of four members spending less than $100 out-of-pocket for their prescription medications, and nearly 90 percent of members spending less than $300, even as adherence improved to its highest level in seven years.
With the increasing use of high deductible health plans, more and more consumers are exposed to the ever rising prices of drugs set by the drug manufacturers. CVS Caremark offers our clients plans to help address this issue. In 2013, CVS Health led the industry with the introduction of Point of Sale (POS) rebates, which allow the value of negotiated rebates on branded drugs to be passed on directly to patients. Today, nearly 10 million of our members benefit from the program. In addition, we develop formulary strategies that enable our PBM clients to offer their members $0 copays on medications for certain common, chronic medications.