MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS
Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer
Provider Innovation and Analytics
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Shrank: CVS Health launched, a prescription refill program available at all CVS/pharmacy locations and through CVS/caremark mail pharmacy, to coordinate refills for eligible maintenance prescriptions as a way to save customers time and help them stay on track with their medications. Concerns had previously been raised about the potential of these programs to produce drug waste by reducing a patient’s involvement in the dispensing process, which could result in prescription oversupply and unnecessary health care spending.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Shrank: The CVS Health Research Institute found that ReadyFill® improved adherence to medications for common chronic conditions without contributing to drug oversupply.
In fact, those enrolled in the program receiving 30-day supplies of medication had a Medication Possession Ratio (MPR), a measurement for medication adherence, which was three points higher than the control group. For those patients receiving 90-day supplies of chronic medications, their MPR was 1.4 points higher than the control group. In addition, those enrolled in the refill program who received 30-day fills had 2.5 fewer days of oversupply than those in the control group, and those receiving 90-day fills had 2.18 fewer days of oversupply.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Shrank: Medication adherence is a very complex public health challenge, and there are many reasons why people don’t always take their medications as prescribed by their doctor. This research shows that prescription refill programs, like ReadyFill®, are helping to address one of the most common challenges of medication adherence by making the prescription refill process easier and more convenient without contributing to drug oversupply. Increasingly, clinicians are working with their patients to help address barriers to adherence and can suggest their patients inquire about this kind of program when filling their prescriptions to help make adherence easier and more convenient.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Shrank: This research is one of many studies led by the CVS Health Research Institute to better understand and improve medication adherence. Research like this helps ensure that the tools and programs we create are evidence-based and effective.
Olga S. Matlin, PhD; Steven M. Kymes, PhD; Alice Averbukh, MBA, MS; Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD; Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH; Andrew Bunton, MBA, CFA; Timothy A. Ducharme, MBA; Peter D. Simmons, RPh; and William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS
Dr. William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS (2015). Prescription ReadyFill® Program Improved Medication Adherence and Reduced Waste