CVS pharmacies to provide access to specialty meds

May 30, 2014

CVS Caremark in July will begin offering patients access to specialty medications at local CVS pharmacies with the launch of Specialty Connect, a specialty prescription services program.

CVS Caremark in July will begin offering patients access to specialty medications at local CVS pharmacies with the launch of Specialty Connect, a specialty prescription services program.

Following the success of its 15-month pilot program at 116 CVS pharmacies in the Philadelphia area, CVS Caremark announced last week the expansion of Specialty Connect to all of its 7,600 retail pharmacies, which will provide patients with this mail-order alternative. Specialty medications include those drugs necessary to treat such conditions as hepatitis B, multiple sclerosis, oncology, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

“Specialty Connect helps specialty patients with these critical therapies by helping to eliminate common challenges they had often faced and by offering them flexibility and choice,” said Alan Lotvin, MD, executive vice president of specialty pharmacy for CVS Caremark in a company statement. “The program makes it easier and more convenient for patients to submit and receive their specialty prescriptions either through CVS/pharmacy or by mail. What’s more, it increases medication adherence, improves outcomes, and lowers overall healthcare costs for specialty patients and payors.”

In the pilot program, half of the patients opted for Specialty Connect program and to receive their medications at the retail locations. They received by phone insurance guidance and clinical support and counseling from a centralized team of pharmacists and nurses, trained to help patients with specific therapeutic conditions.

The results of the pilot program showed improved adherence in patients receiving their specialty medications through the Specialty Connect program. Optimal adherence rates after six months in the program increased 16%, from a baseline of 69.9% of patients to 85.9% of patients. Optimal adherence was defined as a medication possession ratio of at least 80%.

Also, first-fill persistency rates at six months climbed 23%, reaching 81.5%. So more than 80% of patients who were new to therapy received a second dispense of their specialty drugs, according to CVS Caremark.

 

“Feedback from patients served has been overwhelmingly favorable, with many telling us they appreciate the flexible delivery options,” CVS Caremark noted.

CVS Caremark recently received the 2014 Rx Benefit Innovation Award for their pilot program, given by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute.

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