PHARMACY

CVS Caremark hosts panel discussion on health plan strategies

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark is hosting a panel discussion this week at America’s Health Insurance Plans Institute 2008, addressing ways in which health plans can take a proactive approach to consumer health in order to deliver the lowest overall cost and drive positive health outcomes.

The AHIP Institute 2008 is being held June 18 to 20 in San Francisco. The panel discussion, entitled “Improving the Value of Health Care by Redefining the Consumer Experience,” is being held June 19.

Panel participants include Bari Harlam, vice president of marketing for CVS Caremark; Asif Ally, R.Ph., vice president of market strategy for CVS Caremark; Julie Slezak, vice president of analytics and outcomes for CVS Caremark; and Mitch Betses, R.Ph., vice president of health services at CVS Caremark.

Looking to improve patient compliance and adherence, CVS Caremark has created the Proactive Pharmacy Care model. CVS Caremark research has shown that as many as 30 percent of people who fill a ‘new to therapy’ maintenance prescription will decide to discontinue taking that medication before their first refill is due. In addition, more than half of patients taking a maintenance medication will stop taking their prescription within their first year of treatment.

“We are redefining the pharmacy continuum of care,” stated Betses. “As a combined retail pharmacy and PBM, we can serve as a true pharmacy home to complement and support the medical home. Proactive Pharmacy Care enables us to inform and engage consumers in ways that are personalized, convenient and accessible so that we can positively impact health outcomes.”

As an integrated health care provider, CVS Caremark is positioned to engage consumers at more than 6,300 pharmacy locations and 500 MinuteClinics, as well as through mail, telephone and online. In order to most effectively leverage these multiple touch points and reduce overall costs, CVS Caremark has created the Proactive Pharmacy Care model.

The first phase of the Proactive Pharmacy care model, recently implemented in all 6,300 pharmacy locations, has a number of elements aimed at improving patient engagement in how they manage their prescription therapies, including:

  • First Fill Counseling: Targeted counseling for new-to-therapy patients to encourage known reasons for medication non-adherence.
  • Adherence Outreach: Outreach calls from the pharmacy to encourage patients who have stopped their drug therapy to restart therapy.
  • IVR Refill: Automated call reminders to patients to refill upcoming prescriptions.

The company is also addressing the issue of rising costs and is piloting a variety of cost-savings initiatives, including Maintenance Choice and ExtraCare Health.

Under Maintenance Choice, plan sponsors and their beneficiaries may be able to enjoy cost savings usually available only at mail order, with customers on maintenance medications having the option of paying lower mail rates/co-pays for their 90-day medication supply at any one of the CVS locations.

Under ExtraCare Health, CVS Caremark members will receive a special ExtraCare Health card offering an additional 20 percent discount on FSA-eligible CVS branded items and the opportunity to earn special offers and discounts tailored to their health care needs.

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California information-sharing bill struck down by Assembly

BY Drew Buono

LOS ANGELES A California bill aimed at sharing people’s prescription medication information with mass mailers did not receive a single vote of support in the Assembly Health Committee after being approved by the Senate on May 29, according to the Los Angeles Times. The bill, SB 1096, was written by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, who will most likely not reintroduce it, even though he reserved the right to do so.

In presenting the legislation Tuesday, Calderon described it as a boon to consumers, especially those with chronic medical conditions. He said it would allow drugstores to send letters to people reminding them to take their medication or refill a prescription.

The problem with the bill, besides the fact that the patients did not want their prescription medical history shared with someone other than their doctor, is that the bill did not state who would be paying for the reminder letters and which patients would receive them.

According to the Times, it appeared that pharmaceutical companies were behind the funding in an effort to bring in more money on their respective medicines. Also, another provision stated that people who wanted to not be on the mailers would have to opt-out of the program, instead of opting into the program by stating that they would be okay with their information shared.

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CCPA: track-and-trace mandate could cost pharmacies $110,000 per store

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Implementing a track-and-trace system would cost drug store chains $84,000 to $110,000 or more per store in the first year, according to a study that examined the safety of the prescription drug supply chain and the potential effects of a federally mandated system.

The study, released by the Coalition of Community Pharmacy Action, examined the safety of the prescription drug supply chain and the potential effects of a federally mandated track-and-trace system. It also found that existing security measures since 2005, including changes in state laws and steps the chains themselves have taken, have already cut the risk of counterfeit drugs entering the supply chain. The study found no cases of counterfeit drugs in the normal distribution channels since 2005, and most of the problems were from Web sites distributing drugs illegally.

The cost estimate was based on costs of computer hardware software, infrastructure, labor and other resources.

The CCPA is comprised of the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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