WOONSOCKET, R.I., Jan. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A new CVS
Caremark study analyzing annual pharmacy and medical costs over a
three-year period for patients with one or more of four chronic
diseases concludes that patients who take medications as doctors
direct may save the health care system as much as $7,800 per
patient annually. The study findings revealed robust
reductions in emergency department visits and inpatient hospital
days from medication adherence and by avoiding those costly events
there were substantial savings in overall health care costs.
The study, “Medication Adherence Leads to Lower Health Care
Use and Costs Despite Increased Drug Spending,” was released today
in the January issue of Health Affairs.
Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief
Medical Officer of CVS Caremark and a study author, said company
researchers analyzed pharmacy and medical claims data of 135,000
patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and
dyslipidemia to determine the direct effect of adherence on
“There have been many studies through the years that suggest
adherence can save on health care costs, but the issue has not been
central to health care cost discussions because those studies did
not establish a causal link. We took the research further and what
we found is that although adherent patients spend more on
medications – as much as $1,000 more annually – across
the board they spend significantly less for their overall health
care costs,” Brennan said.
The annual per person savings for chronically ill patients who
were adherent to medications compared to those who were not
amounted to $7,823 for those with congestive heart failure, $3,756
for a diabetes patient, $3,908 for hypertension and $1,258 for
dyslipidemia or high cholesterol.