WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark is enlisting the help of academic leaders from several leading universities to develop ways to encourage medication adherence and to better understand why consumers may choose a more expensive brand medication when they have access to a generic medication that may provide the same or similar health outcomes.
Through the new Behavior Change Research Partnership, CVS Caremark is working with academic leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania's Medical School and Wharton School of Business. These research partners will team with CVS Caremark to develop insights into consumer actions around health challenges by studying the issues through the lens of behavioral economics and social marketing.
For example, patient non-adherence to essential chronic medications is widely recognized as a key barrier to improving health and a cause of increasing medical costs. The partnership will study reasons why people who go to the doctor often choose to not fill their initial prescriptions or prematurely stop taking those medications during treatment and recovery.
"This partnership represents another step in our effort to learn more about how we can help patients understand that effective pharmacy care can impact overall medical costs," stated Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "While we know there are many reasons people stop taking their medicine -- cost, forgetfulness, side effects and others -- this research will help us counsel consumers to make the right decision regarding their health."
According to CVS Caremark, past studies have shown that one-quarter of people receiving prescriptions never fill their first prescriptions, and patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and coronary artery disease adhere to their ongoing medication regimen about half of the time. Non-adherence to essential medications is a frequent cause of preventable hospitalizations and patient illness, with costs the U.S. healthcare system estimated at about $300 billion annually.
This latest research initiative complements CVS Caremark's previously announced three-year collaboration with researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital to study pharmacy claims data to better understand patient behavior around medication adherence.