CVS Caremark Corp. has issued two new reports highlighting the company's research on medication adherence, including one study that reviews and compares state-by-state adherence rates for patients managing four chronic diseases.

CVS Caremark, medication adherence, adherence rates, Helena Foulkes, Troy Brennan, State of the States: Adherence Report, Advancing Adherence and the Science of Pharmacy Care Volume 2, Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, health care, pharmacist, medication-taking behavior, patient care

Other Services
Reprints / E-Prints
Submit News
White Papers

Retail News Breaks Archives

CVS Caremark serves up medication adherence analysis

March 27th, 2012

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Caremark Corp. has issued two new reports highlighting the company's research on medication adherence, including one study that reviews and compares state-by-state adherence rates for patients managing four chronic diseases.

CVS said Tuesday that its "The State of the States: Adherence Report" represents the first-ever study that examines how patients in all 50 states are complying with their doctors' orders for taking medication.

Reviewing CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management claims data, the study focuses on hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and depression. Those four diseases were reviewed, CVS explained, because more than half of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, and the treatment for chronic disease accounts for over 75% of U.S. health care costs. The company also noted that assessing adherence across all states enables researchers to see how patients in different geographies and different plan designs follow their medication regimens.

"These reports are part of our continuing effort to shine a bright light on the issue of adherence so that patients, pharmacists, physicians and policy makers understand why patients taking their medications as directed can improve the quality and lower the cost of health care," Helena Foulkes, executive vice president and chief health care strategy and marketing officer at CVS Caremark, said in a statement.

The second report, titled "Advancing Adherence and the Science of Pharmacy Care Volume 2," outlines research from a collaboration of CVS Caremark, Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital over the past three years to examine why many patients don't take their medications as directed.

CVS said the report features findings from 20-peer reviewed articles in medical, pharmacy care and economic journals on various aspects of adherence and includes suggestions for changing health care practices that can improve patient medication-taking behaviors. Also, the report summarizes research on the financial impact of adherence, factors behind nonadherence, the role of health care professionals in working with patients to improve medication-taking behavior, and the role technology can play in improving patient care.

"The research we have been conducting provides important information to those looking for ways to make the health care system more affordable and accessible," stated Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer at CVS Caremark, who heads the research initiative. "Medication adherence is unique because it gives us a real opportunity to improve patient health while lowering the overall cost of care."

Copies of both reports, an interactive map with state-by-state information, videos on adherence and related information are available at

"We plan to share the 'State of the States: Adherence Report' widely, with state and regional officials and directly with policy makers in all states," Foulkes added. "We will also use this information to inform discussions we have with our clients about identifying ways to improve adherence rates for their plan members. We hope by convening these discussions around adherence we can convince policy makers to make the goal of improving medication adherence a national priority."

According to Brennan, CVS aims to share results from its research collaboration so providers can devise tools to identify patients at risk for nonadherence and prescription abandonment. Future work will focus on pharmacist interventions that will improve care mechanisms to help health care providers simplify regimens for those with complex therapies as well as improve pharmacist and health provider communications with patients. The research, too, will look at social networks as health care tools, patient safety issues, comparative effectiveness and ways to simplify patient medication regimens.

"Our investment of money and time researching this issue is significant. We have brought the nation's top research talent to the task," Brennan noted. "The work is helping us engage patients to help them make appropriate decisions about their health. We are also using it to educate the public about the importance of staying adherent to prescription medications."