health care

CVS issues report on medication adherence

Posted 4/2/12

WOONSOCKET – Rhode Island received a “gold” rating in the recently released “State of the States: Adherence Report,” compiled by CVS Caremark Corp., in a comprehensive look at how patients in 50 states are complying with their doctor’s directions about taking medications.

The study documented how different patients in different geographies are taking – or not taking medications, based upon the CVS patient database.

“Medication nonadherence is a significant health issue because studies show the annual cost for medical treatment that could be avoided if people take their medications as directed is $290 billion a year,” said Helena B. Foulkes, executive vice president at CVS Caremark.

The “State of Adherence” study looked at medication adherence for four chronic conditions – diabetes, hypertension, depression and dyslipidemia (high blood cholesterol levels) – diseases that make up a large portion of pharmacy care spend, according to Foulkes.

The study examined adherence rates based upon metrics for use of generics, mail dispensing rate, first fill persistency rate, and medication possession ratio.

Overall, Rhode Island’s performance was graded as “above average,” the report found. The state was ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in its generic dispensing rates for diabetes and depression, respectively.

In turn, Rhode Island was ranked 48th and 49th in mail order dispensing rates for all four chronic diseases. Mail order dispensing rates are important, according to Foulkes, because patients served by mail pharmacies tend to have higher adherence rates.

Medication adherence, Foulkes said, “is not just about individual behavior; it is about care coordination and improved communication among all constituents that make up the health care continuum – patients, health care professionals, and the health care system.”

To view an interactive map for the 50 states, click here.

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