Prescriptions More Costly, Filled Less Often

  • Patients are less likely to fill "dispense as written" prescriptions.

Patients are 50 percent to 60 percent less likely to fill brand-name prescriptions when ordered as “dispense as written,” according to recent research.

The research article attributed this fact to the higher cost of brand-name drugs compared with generic medications, according to the study conducted by researchers from CVS Caremark, Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

CVS Caremark Research Finds "Dispense as Written" Prescriptions May Add $7.7 Billion to Annual Health Care Costs

The use of dispense-as-written (DAW) prescriptions costs the overall health care system around $7.7 billion, and patients in particular approximately $1.7 million, the study said. Those costs likely would have been less if generic medications had been made available to patients. Furthermore, non-adherence to assigned prescription medications costs the U.S. health care system as much as $290 billion annually.

The study examined three years of pharmacy data from CVS Caremark with the goal of better understanding patient behavior, particularly around medication adherence. The research is the product of a collaboration among Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and CVS Caremark.

Read more about the study here.