This year, companies are seeking more ways to save on pharmacy costs, an annual employer client survey by CVS Caremark Corp. finds.

CVS Caremark, pharmacy benefit management, employer client survey, employer survey, PBM, health care costs, Jack Bruner, Caremark Pharmacy Services, generic medications, medication adherence, pharmacy

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CVS Caremark: Employers eye more Rx savings

March 11th, 2010

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – This year, companies are seeking more ways to save on pharmacy costs, an annual employer client survey by CVS Caremark Corp. finds.

The drug store chain and pharmacy benefit manager said Thursday that 94% of employers polled indicated that they will look for opportunities to improve savings even more in 2010 while also seeking ways to improve the member experience.

Overall, employers surveyed cited price (86%), customer service (86%), trust and reliability (84%), and consumer engagement capabilities (46%) as key priorities in PBM procurement, according to CVS Caremark.

"The economic environment continues to impact companies this year, with 66% telling us that reducing overall health care costs is their No. 1 success measure," Jack Bruner, executive vice president of strategic development for Caremark Pharmacy Services, said in a statement. "Employers tell us they are looking for more aggressive solutions to increase generic utilization and manage specialty pharmacy costs, while also focusing on programs to increase medication adherence and manage chronic diseases."

Many of the employers polled also are strongly considering strategies to spur the use of lower-cost generic medications, CVS Caremark said. For example, 48% are mulling plan designs that require using a generic medication first before moving to a branded drug, and 56% are considering plans that provide members a co-pay waiver to switch to generics.

The company noted that this year's employer survey also showed that more companies are adopting or considering solutions to boost medication adherence. In particular, many businesses are looking at programs that impact adherence through counseling and intervention, including counseling to improve adherence the first time a member fills a maintenance medication (62%), outreach to prescribers to resolve gaps in care (56%), and outreach to members and prescribers to provide counsel about therapy drop-off (65%).

CVS Caremark said the online survey, conducted October through December, includes responses from clients representing 285 employers and about 7.3 million lives.