WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) today released its annual Insights Report, which reviews drug trend and highlights key areas to watch in pharmacy care. In 2010, the average drug trend for the company's pharmacy benefit management (PBM) client segments -- employers, health plans and third party administrators -- was 2.4 percent, the lowest trend in six years, demonstrating that CVS Caremark helped its clients and their members effectively manage pharmacy costs during a tough economic year.
"Last year was one of uncertainty and change for our clients as they worked to understand the impact of health care reform while also dealing with a sluggish economic recovery," said Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark's pharmacy benefit management business. "One of our priorities is to help our clients navigate health care reform and determine how best to implement necessary changes. Even with this added layer of complexity, we helped our clients manage costs and maintain quality care for their members."
The company's 2010 drug trend was held in check by the increasing use of generics as more of these less expensive medications became available, more physicians prescribed them and more members were willing to use generics. The company's generic dispensing rate (GDR) was 71.5 percent. Other trend drivers included continued growth in the utilization of complex specialty pharmaceuticals, as well as an increase in utilization of prescription drugs overall. CVS Caremark anticipates these trends will continue this year and, when coupled with the growing impact of chronic disease, sees a need to integrate and coordinate pharmacy care in a centralized location -- a pharmacy home -- to help members coordinate and simplify their medication management.
In addition to the 2.4 percent overall trend, the more notable 2011 Insights findings are:
Non-specialty trend -- the cost increase for prescriptions excluding expensive biologic pharmaceuticals -- was .8 percent, driven by the increased use of generics.
Specialty pharmaceuticals continued to be the fastest growing area of spending in medications, increasing 13.7 percent from the year before.
About one-quarter of the CVS Caremark clients experienced a reduction in medication costs year-over-year, or a negative trend; one-third of the clients experienced a trend of less than 2.5 percent.
"The continuing increase in the use of expensive specialty drugs, as well as the growing prevalence of chronic disease, calls for innovative health care solutions such as an integrated pharmacy home to help patients deal with complex therapy regimens and stay adherent," says Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark. "Developing a pharmacy home was one of the recommendations raised by our recent research conducted with Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital. That work and this report make it clear we must devise better ways to serve the chronically ill. This trend report shows we are making headway in that fight."
CVS Caremark programs that maximize the benefits of the integrated enterprise have already been embraced by the company's PBM clients and their members. For example, Maintenance Choice provides members with two options for receiving 90-day supplies of maintenance medications for chronic conditions, either by using a convenient mail order pharmacy or by maintaining their face-to-face connection with their local CVS pharmacist, while paying less out-of-pocket for their medications. In addition, the recently launched Pharmacy Advisor program enables members with diabetes to build a relationship with their mail order pharmacist or local CVS pharmacist, providing information and support that closes gaps in care, can reduce costs and promotes mediation adherence.
CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care. We are uniquely positioned to engage plan members in behaviors that improve their health and to lower overall health care costs for health plans, plan sponsors and their members. CVS Caremark is a market leader in mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and retail clinics, and is a leading provider of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As one of the country's largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), we provide access to a network of approximately 65,000 pharmacies, including more than 7,100 CVS/pharmacy® stores that provide unparalleled service and capabilities. Our clinical offerings include our signature Pharmacy Advisor™ program as well as innovative generic step therapy and genetic benefit management programs that promote more cost effective and healthier behaviors and improve health care outcomes. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Company's Web site at http://info.cvscaremark.com/.