New patients enrolled in the pilot were 17.5% more likely to pick up their first refill, and existing specialty patients had an 11.4% improvement in adherence, as compared to a control group. The study was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.
“The specialty market is growing rapidly, and new high-cost specialty drugs that were once limited to small patient populations are now increasingly being indicated to treat many more patients,” said Dr. William Shrank, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of CVS Health. “As new specialty medications are introduced, adherence to therapy will be particularly important to optimize the benefit of these very expensive medications. Specialty Connect, combined with evidence-based benefit design and utilization management strategies, can increase the likelihood that the most appropriate patients receive specialty medications and that, once received, they take them as prescribed.”
CVS Health piloted the Specialty Connect program in 115 CVS/pharmacy stores before launching the program nationwide.
Patients enrolled in the pilot could choose to have medications delivered to their home or doctor’s office or opt to pick up their specialty medications at their local CVS/pharmacy, while receiving specialized clinical support from CVS/specialty, the specialty pharmacy of CVS Health. Since the program’s launch, more than 100,000 patients have been served.
Specialty medicines treat complex conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis C. Many of these medications require special handling, storage and administration. In addition, many specialty drugs are only available at select specialty pharmacies to help ensure compliance with required safety and compliance protocols. CVS/specialty is the only specialty pharmacy that offers patients a choice of where to get their medicines, either at any CVS/pharmacy location or through mail delivery.
“CVS/specialty is the only specialty pharmacy that integrates rare disease management and coordinated care programs to make it easier for patients to start and stay on complex treatments,” added Alan Lotvin, president of CVS/specialty.