WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Pharmacy benefits management clients of CVS Caremark Corp. saved nearly $2.4 billion in 2011, in part because of the company’s focus on providing medication adherence programs for patients with chronic conditions.
In its annual Insights Report, which reviews drug trend and highlights key issues in pharmacy care, CVS Caremark notes that the 2011 drug trend for its PBM employer clients (2.1%) and health plan clients (2.2%) represented the company’s lowest recorded trend for the last seven years.
“Based on our research, we have implemented programs to help our customers and members improve their adherence, and in 2011 the results of these programs increased optimal adherence rates for our clients,” says executive vice president and chief medical officer Troy Brennan.
Another trend driver was continued growth in the use of complex specialty pharmaceuticals. CVS Caremark’s analysis shows that although specialty drugs may make up as little as 2.5% of a payer’s total prescriptions, they can add up to 31% of overall pharmacy spend. In 2011 specialty drug trend ranged from 16.5% for employer clients to 19.1% for health plan clients.
“We worked closely with our clients to find opportunities to control costs through formulary management and increased utilization of generic drugs while continuing to promote programs to improve medication adherence and keep members healthy,” says Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s pharmacy benefits management business.
During 2011 the generics dispensing rate grew to 74.1% as a result of the combination of a stream of patent expirations for blockbuster brand drugs and the company’s implementation of formulary and plan design strategies to encourage the use of generic drugs.