CVS Health study evaluates the impact of narrow pharmacy networks on medication adherence

WOONSOCKET, R.I., 2015-9-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — A new CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine is the first to evaluate the impact of narrow pharmacy networks on medication adherence. The analysis showed that this approach, which incentivizes plan members to use specific in-network pharmacies, is associated with improved medication adherence. In addition, the researchers observed an even greater impact on adherence when there were 90-day prescription programs also in place. Narrow networks have previously been criticized for limiting access and adversely impacting medication adherence.

“There are few opportunities in health care when we can improve both quality of care and health outcomes while helping to manage health care costs,” said William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS, senior vice president and Chief Scientific Officer, CVS Health and a study author. “This first-of-its-kind study suggests that narrow networks may be one such opportunity by providing clear evidence that these networks – already an established cost management strategy – also help optimize members’ adherence.”

The researchers reviewed de-identified pharmacy claims data for more than 200,000 patients on chronic therapies to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression over a 12-month period. These patients received prescription drug coverage through CVS/caremark, the pharmacy benefit management (PBM) business of CVS Health. The study found that those patients in commercial drug plans with narrow pharmacy networks had improved medication adherence as indicated by their medication possession ratio (MPR), which measures patients’ available medication on hand over time and is commonly used as an indication of adherence. The researchers also found that if 90-day prescription programs, where patients receive a three-month supply of their chronic medication prescription during one pharmacy visit, were used in conjunction with a narrow network there was an even greater improvement in members’ adherence.

As a pharmacy innovation company, CVS Health is focused on improving health outcomes while lowering costs for CVS/caremark PBM clients and their members. In recent years, narrow and preferred pharmacy network strategies have become more prevalent as ways  to help manage rising pharmacy costs and are a widely used feature of government-sponsored, Exchange and commercial health plans. However, their impact  on patient health outcomes and quality of care had not previously been established. Concerns have also been raised that these networks may adversely affect medication adherence by reducing members’ geographic access to pharmacy care and choice. Many government-sponsored plans address this concern by requiring plan sponsors to have in-network retail pharmacies within close proximity of members’ residences. In addition, independent research shows that the majority of Medicare beneficiaries are satisfied with their preferred pharmacy network plan reporting that the in-network pharmacies are conveniently located.

“Despite common concerns that narrow pharmacy networks reduce access, we believe they can actually help encourage plan members to establish a pharmacy home where patients with chronic diseases can receive coordinated care and effective medication adherence support,” added Dr. Shrank. “This research suggests that narrow networks are one more way we can help encourage medication adherence and have an even greater impact as we help people on their path to better health.”

Research shows that half of people who have long-term prescriptions for chronic conditions do not take their medicines as prescribed, costing the U.S. nearly $300 billion and tens of thousands of lives each year. In addition to PBM plan designs that promote adherence and cost-savings, CVS Health is building a range of programs across the enterprise to meet the various challenges individual patients face when taking their medications. These include programs that synchronize prescription pick-up for patients with multiple medications, comprehensive medication reviews to help identify potential safety issues and adherence-improving interventions that can be delivered at the retail pharmacy, via digital tools and at the patient’s home.

The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives. CVS Health Research Institute findings support a continuous quality improvement environment, which encourages product innovation and development to benefit CVS Health patients, clients and their members.

For more detail on the data, please visit the following link.

About CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health.  Through its 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs.  Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at www.cvshealth.com.

SOURCE: CVS Health

CVS Health study: employer-sponsored smoking cessation programs with financial incentives associated with higher rates of quitting smoking

WOONSOCKET, R.I., 2015-5-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — A new study by the CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute and researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that employer-sponsored smoking cessation programs with financial incentives are associated with higher rates of quitting smoking and sustained abstinence. Findings of the study, conducted among a sample of CVS Health colleagues and their relatives and friends, helped shape an innovative smoking cessation program for CVS Health colleagues that will launch in June 2015.

“More than 50 years after the release of the first Surgeon General’s report on the harmful effects of tobacco, smoking still remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S. While as a society, we have made significant strides in curbing rates of smoking, there is still a clear opportunity to make an even greater impact,” said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice president and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health and a study co-author. “As we think about novel approaches to smoking cessation, these findings provide evidence that financial incentives can be a powerful motivator.”

The researchers randomly assigned approximately 2,500 CVS Health colleagues and their family and friends to one of four incentive-based smoking cessation programs or to usual care, which consisted of informational resources and free access to a behavioral-modification program and nicotine-replacement therapy. Across all of the incentive-based programs, participants were eligible for up to $800 for successfully quitting smoking but the programs differed in how incentives were accrued and disbursed. Two of the programs required participants to pay an upfront deposit of $150, which was reimbursed if participants successfully quit smoking.  Overall, study participants who enrolled in any of the four incentive-based programs were nearly three times more likely to quit smoking than those who received usual care alone. In addition, although participants assigned to the groups requiring an upfront deposit were more likely to decline participation than those in the pure incentive-based programs, deposit programs led to nearly twice the rate of abstinence from smoking at six months among people who would have accepted either type of program.

“This study is one of the first to compare incentive programs that first require deposits and programs that entail pure rewards to promote healthy behaviors,” added Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study. “The results are fully consistent with the behavioral theory that people are typically more motivated to avoid losses than to seek gains. Although the need to make monetary deposits deters some people from participating, deposit-requiring incentive programs can produce robust, long-term results in helping to change complex health behaviors.”

As part of CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health, CVS Health will launch 700 Good Reasons, an innovative smoking cessation program for its colleagues who smoke or use tobacco of any kind. Set to launch next month, the program was developed based on key learnings and insights gained from this new research in order to create an incentive program that would both encourage participation and result in sustained success in quitting smoking.  Program participants are required to pay a $50 deposit and can earn up to $700 as well as a refund of their full deposit if they commit to quit and are successful. The financial incentives will be paid to participating employees who test tobacco-free at six and 12 months. In addition, those enrolled will also be encouraged to participate in CVS/minuteclinic’s Start to Stop® smoking cessation program which offers a personalized quit plan, nicotine replacement therapy and support to help stay on track.

“Last year, we made a commitment as a company to be tobacco-free as we strive to fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health and that includes our colleagues,” said Lisa Bisaccia, executive vice president and Chief Human Resources Officer, CVS Health. “The research we conducted with the University of Pennsylvania provided us with important information about what can motivate and help our colleagues stop smoking. We are excited to offer this innovative program to our colleagues who want to quit smoking as we foster a healthy workplace and workforce.”

CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products in all CVS/pharmacy locations in September 2014 to support the health and well-being of its patients and customers.

The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives. CVS Health Research Institute findings support a continuous quality improvement environment, which encourages product innovation and development to benefit CVS Health patients, clients and their members.

The study was also supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA159932) and a grant from the National Institute on Aging (AG036592).

For more detail on the data, please visit the following link: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1414293

 

About CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health.  Through its 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs.  Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact:
Christine Cramer Christina Beckerman
CVS Health CVS Health
(401) 770-3317 (401) 770-8868
christine.cramer@cvscaremark.com christina.beckerman@cvscaremark.com