The trend drivers — including brand, specialty and generic price inflation — were similar to what was seen in 2014, but CVS Health asserts that its pharmacy management strategies mitigated the impact of rising drug costs in a highly volatile prescription drug market.
Price inflation in nonspecialty brands outweighed all other trend drivers. Specialty overall, including the impact of new launches and increases in price and utilization, had less impact than inflation of brands in such high-volume categories as drugs used to treat diabetes.
“The high cost of drugs that our clients are struggling with hurts everyone,” said Dr. Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer at CVS Health. “At CVS Health, we work to help patients avoid unnecessarily expensive medications as part of our focus on making prescriptions affordable.”
CVS/caremark, the company’s PBM, applies a variety of these solutions to help manage pharmacy costs. It offers flexible formulary options — based on clinical evidence — that help deliver lower costs for clients while ensuring that their members have access to the medications they need.
On average, CVS/caremark clients utilizing the company’s value formulary in 2015 saved $20 million or more, depending on the number of plan members they support.
In addition, recently published research from the CVS Health Research Institute shows that, along with cost savings, more selective formulary design improves medication adherence and health outcomes.