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CVS Caremark, Dovetail Health collaborate with Aetna in new pilot program

BY Antoinette Alexander

HARTFORD, Conn. and WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Aetna has announced a new pilot program, dubbed the Aetna Rx Home Success Program, which is supported by CVS Caremark.

The Aetna Rx Home Success Program works with CVS Caremark pharmacists and Dovetail Health to support Aetna members who are taking multiple medications. The program helps members manage their health through personal support from a pharmacist — including offering in-home consultations — and focuses on those who have recently been discharged from a hospital, nursing home or rehabilitation facility.

The six-month pilot program will be offered in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Readmission rates and member satisfaction of enrollees will be measured at the conclusion of the pilot.


How it works: Members who decide to enroll in the Aetna Rx Home Success Program are contacted by a pharmacist who will work with them to schedule an in-home visit or a detailed phone consultation. The pharmacist will review any new and/or pre-existing medications and help create a detailed care plan with the member and their doctor. The pharmacist will address potential medication-related issues, identify gaps in care and educate members about their medicine(s). The pharmacist also will consider other risk factors, including chronic conditions, home safety and will aid in arranging physician follow-up visits.


Hospital readmissions due to not properly taking their medication affect nearly 3.5 million patients and result in about $15.2 billion dollars in healthcare costs each year. Aetna’s approach to health care, blending the expertise of CVS Caremark and a Dovetail Health pharmacist, aims to provide a complete circle of care, ensuring positive health outcomes for its members.

"We look forward to piloting this program with Aetna as high rates of hospital readmissions result in increased costs for the patient and the payer, which can negatively impact a patient’s health outcomes," stated Troyen Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "Many patients who are newly discharged from a hospital or rehab facility are taking multiple medications. Trying to navigate multiple treatment guidelines provided by the patient’s primary care physician and the treatment facility discharge team can be overwhelming. Our research shows that the intervention of a clinical pharmacist helps patients better understand their medications and avoid potential setbacks to recovery after returning home."


Members are identified by an Aetna case manager as either "high risk" or "moderate risk" for hospital readmission. Within two days of discharge, high-risk members are contacted to schedule an in-home medication review performed by a Dovetail pharmacist. CVS Caremark pharmacists contact the moderate risk members to schedule a medication review over the phone. All members receive ongoing support in the form of follow-up phone calls for a 30-day period. Aetna case management nurses for continuing care coordination also mentor members. After the 30 days, the member will be discharged from the program and moved back to Aetna Case Management for continued follow-up and care.

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Study: Type 2 diabetes market competition heats up amid disease rate increase

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A global population of patients with prediabetes that is three times the size of those who already have Type 2 diabetes has led to intense competition between drug makers to launch drugs to treat the disease, according to a new report.

Frost & Sullivan’s report, "Analysis of the Global Type 2 Diabetes Therapeutic Market," found that 15 new drugs are in late-stage clinical trials or awaiting regulatory review. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, mostly with Type 2, which is lifestyle-related, while 79 million people have prediabetes, defined as a condition in which patients are at risk of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

"The Type 2 diabetes market continually advances, primarily due to the dominance of obesity," Frost & Sullivan life sciences global program director Jennifer Lazar Brice said. "Current studies of this increasingly competitive market are limited in their approach. Seeing this missed opportunity, we began addressing such markets in a new way. Our repositioned life sciences program includes therapeutic product and pipeline analyses and services focused on our clients’ proactive competitive intelligence goals."

The report found that a "tremendous" increase in Type 2 diabetes is in store, and the industry needs better ways to prevent the disease from progressing. This includes identifying the precursors to fully developed diabetes through preventive therapy.

 

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Sandoz relaunches biosimilars website

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Generic drug maker Sandoz has relaunched a website to promote its biosimilars business.

The global website aims to educate the public about biosimilars, which are knock-off versions of biotech drugs. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 included a provision creating an abbreviated regulatory approval pathway for the drugs similar to the one created for generic pharmaceutical drugs by the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984. For the moment, companies looking to market a biosimilar version of a branded biologic in the United States must use the traditional approval pathway, including conducting three phases of clinical trial programs. A recent report by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts found that if just a handful of biosimilars were to enter the market, patients and payers in the United States stood to save up to $250 billion between 2014 and 2024. Biotech drugs can often be extremely expensive, costing patients hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

The site includes information about biosimilars and a list of biosimilars currently undergoing clinical trials, including versions of Genentech and Biogen Idec’s autoimmune disorder and cancer treatment Rituxan (rituximab); Amgen’s drug for increasing white blood cell counts in patients undergoing chemotherapy, Neupogen (filgrastim) and Neulasta (pegfilgrastim); and Amgen and Pfizer’s autoimmune disorder treatment Enbrel (etanercept).

Currently, Sandoz, the generics division of Swiss drug maker Novartis, is one of a handful of companies that manufactures biosimilars, mainly for the European market. While the new law created a legal pathway, the Food and Drug Administration is still working on how to regulate them. The other principal companies that make biosimilars for the European market are U.S.-based Hospira and Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. In addition, Sandoz makes a biosimilar version of Pfizer’s growth-hormone treatment Genotropin (somatropin [rDNA origin]), branded as Omnitrope, in the United States. That drug was approved under a special consideration from the FDA in 2006.

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