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CVS Health study shows improved adherence and outcomes for generic statins
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — A new study by researchers at CVS Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that patients who took a generic statin were more likely to be adherent to their medication than those starting on a branded drug, and had an 8% lower rate of the composite endpoint of cardiovascular events and death.
The study, published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, is the first to investigate whether starting on a generic versus a brand-name drug for the treatment of high cholesterol is associated with improved health outcomes.
"While statins are the most frequently prescribed drugs in the U.S. and have been shown to be effective in reducing cholesterol and cardiovascular-related deaths, they are only effective if patients take them," stated Joshua J. Gagne, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Brigham and Women's Hospital and lead author of the study. "This study is the first to provide evidence that starting therapy with a generic statin versus a branded drug improved both medication adherence and clinical outcomes."
The researchers reviewed medical and pharmacy claims for more than 90,000 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older, with prescription drug coverage between 2006 and 2008. Among patients in the study, the mean co-payment for a generic statin was $10 compared with $48 for a branded statin. The main outcome measures of the study were adherence to statin therapy and health outcomes as determined by tracking hospitalizations for acute coronary syndromes or stroke and death.
"We know that medication non-adherence is complex and very personal and that there are many reasons patients fail to adhere to therapy," stated William H. Shrank, SVP and chief scientific officer of CVS Health, and the study's senior author. "Drug cost is one important factor. This study provides clear evidence that the use of lower cost generic medications, when appropriate, not only reduces cost for the patient and improves adherence, but also improves health and reduces mortality."
They needed a study to show people are more likely to buy and take prescriptions when they cost less? This must be the kind of work the scientists who graduate with 2.0s end up doing.