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CVS Caremark forges ahead with medication adherence initiatives

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT Underscoring the vital role that pharmacists play in the U.S. healthcare system are the findings of the recent CVS Caremark study, which found many patients believe that their specialty pharmacy team plays an important role in medication adherence. There's a $300 billion reason why this is important.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark: Patients believe specialty pharmacy team encourages medication adherence. For the full story, click here)

It is no secret that medication adherence is a major problem facing the industry and is draining billions of dollars out of the already-fragile U.S. healthcare system. A lack of medication adherence is frequently at the root of preventable hospitalizations and patient illness and the resulting costs to the U.S. healthcare system have been estimated to be about $300 billion annually.

CVS Caremark has been hard at work embarking on an array of research initiatives to try and find ways to improve medication adherence and, as a result, help patients live healthier lives. For example, at the recent 22nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, CVS Caremark presented study findings that showed pharmacy benefit managers can employ a variety of tools to encourage medication adherence and close key therapy gaps. Now, CVS Caremark has set its sights on specialty pharmacy.

Adherence is especially important for specialty pharmacy because, as the article states, specialty pharmaceuticals are typically injectable or infused drugs requiring special handling and used in the management of chronic, rare and complex conditions including as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. Because these medications are often expensive, generally require special handling, require training for proper administration and can cause bothersome side effects, patients can face many barriers to medication adherence and persistency.

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