Pointing to research showing patient difficulty with medication adherence, CVS Caremark Corp. has launched a free prescription refill program.

CVS Caremark, ReadyFill, CVS/pharmacy, drug store, pharmacy, medication adherence, prescription refill, Health IQ Study, Papatya Tankut, Troy Brennan, health care, maintenance prescriptions, Russell Redman

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CVS rolls out prescription refill reminder program

August 13th, 2009
A CVS Caremark study found that most customers would welcome prescription refill reminders.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Pointing to research showing patient difficulty with medication adherence, CVS Caremark Corp. has launched a free prescription refill program.

The drug store chain said Thursday that it has implemented ReadyFill, a program that lets customers sign up to have their maintenance prescriptions filled automatically.

They also receive a phone call from CVS/pharmacy to remind them that their medication is ready to be picked up.

"It is very important for patients to maintain their medication regimen," Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy professional services for CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "Skipping medications for any reason can be risky, and patients may end up compromising their health and having more costs in the long run. Patients should talk to their pharmacist about the best way to manage prescriptions, and simple tools like ReadyFill can help."

CVS Caremark said ReadyFill stems in part from findings in the company's 2009 Health IQ Study, which polled 2,000 consumers who take at least one maintenance medication about their views and behavior concerning health care and prescription use.

The study found that 28% of consumers sometimes forget to refill their prescriptions on time, and 52% said it would be useful if their pharmacy would remind them when it's time to refill. What's more, 43% admit that occasionally they forget to take their medication.

In addition, 34% of respondents said they sometimes stop taking their medication if they feel worse while taking them; 26% sometimes stop taking their prescriptions if they feel better; and 21% acknowledge being careless about taking drugs as prescribed. Also, the study found that younger consumers (ages 20 to 34) are more likely than others to report not taking their medications.

Other notable findings in the Health IQ Study include the following:

• 13% of consumers said they were not covered by a prescription drug health insurance plan.

• 12% said they don't obtain yearly checkups. That number jumps to 26% for those without prescription drug coverage.

• 66% have not spoken to anyone in the past 12 months about how to save money on their prescriptions. A quarter of respondents said they don't know who to ask.

• Among the one-third of respondents who have sought advice on prescriptions, an equal proportion spoke to their pharmacist or their doctor.

"When patients don't take the medications prescribed by their doctors, it hurts their health and can cost an estimated $177 billion annually," commented Troy Brennan, CVS Caremark executive vice president and chief medical officer. "Consumers can improve their health while reducing health care costs simply by sticking to their prescription drug regimens."