Significant increases in refill volume and improved medication adherence are among benefits of the 90-day prescription refill at retail initiative launched a little over a year ago at Walgreen Co.


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Walgreens shows 90-day Rx option at retail effective

March 12th, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Significant increases in refill volume and improved medication adherence are among benefits of the 90-day prescription refill at retail initiative launched a little over a year ago at Walgreen Co.

The pharmacy operator recently released data supporting the success of the program and its benefits to patients and ­payers.

Launched in January 2011, the 90-day retail initiative focuses on informing eligible patients of the option to receive 90-day medication supplies from their neighborhood Walgreens retail pharmacy and encourages prescription plan administrators to offer this choice to their members. Walgreens developed the campaign to heighten awareness of 90-day retail options, citing a prior lack of awareness among patients as a primary barrier to greater adoption of 90-day prescriptions.

“We know that the 90-day retail option can be effective in helping to reduce overall health care costs and improve patient outcomes through better medication adherence,” says Kermit Crawford, Walgreens’ president of pharmacy health and wellness services and solutions. “Medication nonadherence is one of the biggest hurdles in treating illness today. In addition to working with patients and payers to drive cost savings, our 90-day retail offerings have fostered deep and trusted relationships with our pharmacists and given patients greater convenience, resulting in 15% greater adherence versus ­30-day.”

According to Walgreens, key data underscoring the initiative’s success to date includes an increase of more than 30% in 90-day retail prescription volume, with more than 150 million adjusted 90-day prescriptions filled during calendar year 2011.

Also cited are increases in Walgreens 90-day retail market share — including year-over-year growth from 17.6% to more than 20.3% in December. The retailer also claims an industry-leading awareness level of customers knowledgeable about the 90-day retail option.

In a white paper titled “The Value of 90-Day Retail,” Walgreens further analyzes the benefits of 90-day prescription refills at retail, including those by the company’s clients and partners who have recognized the addition of this option to their benefits plans.

The paper examines how combining 90-day retail refills with the more common 30-day retail and 90-day mail options can help achieve cost savings and improved medication adherence and patient outcomes as well as higher member satisfaction. The analysis also unveils data refuting common misconceptions around 90-day retail options — such as the belief that savings generated would be negated by mail-order cannibalization or that it increases medication waste.

According to the data, the addition of a 90-day retail program presents cost savings of 7% for 90-day prescriptions compared to three 30-day fills, driven by improved generic utilization and lower dispensing fees. It also finds a 15% increase in medication adherence through 90-day retail compared to 30-day.

The white paper also features a case study outlining how a midsize pharmacy benefit manager client realized more than $43 million in cost savings, driven by an 18% increase in total 90-day penetration, 18 months after adopting a 90-day retail offering.

“Today’s health care landscape continues to evolve along with the growing needs of payers and health plans, and there is strong evidence supporting the benefits of adding a 90-day retail option,” says Jeffrey Berkowitz, Walgreens’ senior vice president of pharmaceutical development and market access. “While some are focused on reducing choice and convenience for members, we believe programs like 90-day retail, which offer much greater options, can be a key driver in maximizing member benefits and savings. Walgreens is driving greater consumer awareness — and with innovative technology and convenient nationwide access — we’re uniquely positioned to help bring this offering to other health care groups.”

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