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CVS Specialty Connect sees improved Rx adherence

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health found that patients in a pilot study of its Specialty Connect specialty drug program had a significant improvement in adherence to their medication.

CVS said Friday that new patients enrolled in the pilot were 17.5% more likely to pick up their first refill, and current specialty patients had an 11.4 percentage point improvement in adherence versus a control group, according to findings by the CVS Health Research Institute. The study was published in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

Alan_Lotvin_CVS Specialty

Alan Lotvin

Specialty Connect was piloted in 115 CVS/pharmacy stores before being rolled out nationwide, CVS said. Patients enrolled in the pilot could opt to have their specialty medications delivered to their home or doctor’s office or pick them up at a local CVS store while receiving specialized clinical support from CVS Specialty, the specialty pharmacy of CVS Health.

“CVS Specialty is the only specialty pharmacy that integrates rare disease management and coordinated care programs to make it easier for patients to start and stay on complex treatments,” according to Alan Lotvin, president of CVS Specialty and executive vice president at CVS Health. “Since we launched Specialty Connect across all CVS/pharmacy locations, we have seen high rates of adherence, and our specialty patients have reported extremely high satisfaction with their service.”

Since the launch of Specialty Connect, CVS said, more than 100,000 patients have been served, and more than half have chosen to pick up their specialty prescriptions at retail.

CVS noted that many specialty drugs are only available at select specialty pharmacies to help ensure compliance with required safety and compliance protocols, which often makes it more difficult for patients to fill a new prescription for a specialty medication. The company reported that as many as a quarter of traditional retail pharmacies can’t fill a specialty prescription without barriers and/or delays.

Besides giving patients a choice of where to get their specialty drugs, at a CVS store or via mail delivery, the CVS Specialty care team provides around-the-clock support and patient care, including symptom management, claims processing and help with managing comorbid conditions — simplifying the logistics for specialty patients.

“The specialty market is growing rapidly and new high-cost specialty drugs, that were once limited to small patient populations, are now increasingly being indicated to treat many more patients,” stated William Shrank, chief scientific officer and senior vice president at CVS Health. “As new specialty medications are introduced, adherence to therapy will be particularly important to optimize the benefit of these very expensive medications. Specialty Connect, combined with evidence-based benefit design and utilization management strategies, can increase the likelihood that the most appropriate patients receive specialty medications and that, once received, they take them as prescribed.”


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