Survey finds widespread employer ignorance about specialty pharmacy
CHICAGO — A "vast majority" of employers don’t know how much they’re spending on specialty drugs through their medical or pharmacy plans, according to a new survey by the Midwest Business Group on Health.
The MBGH surveyed 120 employers from around the country that had between 500 and 25,000 employees, finding that 25% had "little or no" understanding of specialty pharmacy, while 53% had only a moderate understanding of it. Meanwhile, almost 30% didn’t know how much their total specialty claim costs had increased in the past three to five years. The MBGH conducted the survey under guidance from the Institute for Integrated Healthcare principal Randy Vogenberg.
"In addition to the uncertainty and challenges that health reform and the economy are placing on employers, health plans and pharmacy benefit managers, the real driver of drug cost trend growth for employers lies in biologics and specialty pharmacy," MBGH VP Cheryl Larson said. "Our research confirms that there is a broad lack of awareness and specific knowledge about benefit design related to specialty pharmacy that illustrates key gaps that need to be addressed."
The survey also found that 42% of employers used PBMs to manage specialty benefits, with 22% using their health plan and 18% using a combination of both, and 13% used a specialty pharmacy provider. Meanwhile, 76% didn’t offer employees an incentive to ensure proper compliance to medication and adherence to treatment for use of specialty drugs.
CVS/pharmacy continues fight against ‘money trashing’
Beginning Oct. 1, members of CVS/pharmacy’s ExtraCare rewards program will begin receiving their quarterly reward payout. In line with this, the drug store chain said that both sites now feature new humorous videos showing shoppers all the ways they can remember to not be a "MoneyTrasher." Viewers can vote on their favorite videos and help spread the word to others by sharing the content on Facebook and Twitter, which can encourage them to "Stop Money Trashing."
What’s more, shoppers can declare their commitment against "MoneyTrashing" by taking a digital pledge to not be a MoneyTrasher. The first 500,000 pledge registrants will automatically receive $2 ExtraBucks rewards, the company said.
"We have always been proud that tens of millions of loyal CVS/pharmacy customers redeem their ExtraBucks rewards and have made ExtraCare the most successful retail rewards program in the U.S.," CVS/pharmacy customer relationship management VP Melissa Studzinski said. "However, our goal is to help even more customers realize how easy it is to save money by taking advantage of the rewards available. Since launching our MoneyTrashers campaign, the number of ExtraCare members redeeming their rewards has reached new heights and it is clear the message is resonating with customers and people are having a lot of fun with it. As we enter the next phase of this campaign, we want to continue that excitement and enlist our customers to teach their friends and family to stop ‘trashing’ their ExtraBucks rewards, too."
DSE Healthcare employs social media to elicit consumer testimonials
EDISON, N.J. — DSE Healthcare Solutions reached out to volunteers with recurrent urinary tract infections through social media sites for a 12-week Cystex challenge. The outreach incorporated the Cystex Facebook page, Cystex Ladies Room Blog and outreach to bloggers, who spread the word through their network of consumers and other bloggers.
Ten women were selected out of that group and supplied with a 12-week supply of Cystex Liquid Cranberry Complex with Proantinox. The women reported on their progress weekly and communicated via the Cystex "Ladies Room" blog and the Cystex Facebook page.
Of the 10 women, eight completed the challenge. In the 12 months prior to beginning the challenge, this group of women had paid an average of four visits to the doctor for UTI-related issues. During the 12 weeks of the challenge, the total number of doctors visits was zero.
"While this was in no way a scientifically based study, as a practicing urologist, I believe that the results were impressive," stated Elizabeth Kavaler, a New York City urologist and Cystex spokeswoman. "What I especially found impressive were the women’s own evaluations of their bladder health — before and after — and the dramatic improvements reported."
"All of the patients reported improvement after initiating use of Cystex Liquid Cranberry Complex, and none reported an adverse reaction," Kavaler added. "The personal accounts of the impact that this supplement had, from reduced stress to improvements in quality of life, are great substantiation."
The Cystex Better Bladder Challenge was created and executed for DSE by Robin Leedy & Associates.
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