Employers with onsite pharmacies are seeing a return on investment in the form of increased medication adherence among their health plan members.

Onsite pharmacies provide employees with a convenient option for filling discounted prescriptions that is integrated with other employer-sponsored wellness programs. These onsite initiatives aim to contain employers’ health care expenditures while supporting healthy lifestyles and increasing productivity across health plan members.

One self-insured employer hosting these onsite health programs is Cerner Corp, a health information technology supplier.

Cerner’s Healthe Clinic provides worksite health care to approximately 7500 employees and their dependents in the Kansas City, Missouri area. In addition to providing primary care and condition management services, the Healthe Clinic offers an onsite pharmacy.

To assess how this pharmacy affects the health plan members’ medication adherence, Cerner researchers relied on medication possession ratio (MPR), average number of days until discontinuation of treatment (60-day gap in medication coverage), and the percentage of members without a 30-day gap in medication coverage.

Of the 2498 members included in the analysis, 787 filled prescriptions for asthma, 973 for depression, 296 for diabetes, 413 for hyperlipidemia, and 759 for hypertension.

Across all medication types, adherence measures indicated that treatment compliance, persistence, and discontinuation were superior among onsite pharmacy users compared with offsite pharmacy users.

For instance, the average MPR among onsite pharmacy users was 13% to 20% higher across medication types at 1 year for onsite pharmacy users, and it continued to be statistically higher at 2 years. Additionally, onsite pharmacy users were less likely to have a 30- or 60-day gap in medication coverage at 180 and 365 days.

The researchers noted that the latter finding is meaningful because onsite pharmacies “may facilitate long-term medication persistence by offering members a more convenient and lower-cost method of filling prescriptions.”

“Onsite pharmacies support appropriate use of medications that, in turn, can improve health outcomes, enhance quality of life, and lower costs,” Cerner Research Consulting scientist Kathleen M. Aguilar, MPH, told Pharmacy Times. “Health centers and pharmacies are an emerging benefit employers are offering to employees and their families, [and] I predict that onsite pharmacies and standalone dispensaries will increasingly be adopted by employers and other organizations invested in a population health model of care.”