Patients who are prescribed specialty drugs to treat complex conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, face unique challenges when filling their prescriptions. Specialty drugs typically require special handling, storage and administration, and are often available only at select specialty pharmacies or through mail delivery.
Further complicating the process is the fact that as many as one quarter of traditional retail pharmacies are unable to fill a specialty prescription without barriers and/or delays. Patients may also find the initial filling process so daunting that they delay or abandon treatment altogether.
To help address these initial obstacles, CVS Health created Specialty ConnectTM, a unique program that allows specialty patients unprecedented choice and flexibility in how they receive their medications, paired with centralized, expert clinical support.
With Specialty Connect, patients have the option to bring their specialty prescriptions to any CVS Pharmacy. After dropping off their prescription, patients receive insurance guidance and 24/7 clinical support by phone from a team of specialty pharmacy experts. Patients can choose between in-store pickup at any of the more than 9,500 CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide, or they can receive their medications by mail.
Specialty Connect takes the uncertainty out of the specialty prescription-filling process, so patients can focus on following their treatment plan. To see how much of a difference the program could make, researchers at the CVS Health Research Institute conducted a pilot study before the nationwide program launch in 2014. New patients enrolled in the pilot were 17.5 percent more likely to pick up 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.
For more information about Specialty Connect, a service offered only by CVS Health, download our infographic: A Better Way to Start Specialty Therapy.