Express Scripts Launches Tool Aimed at Improving Specialty Medication Adherence


The new platform provides patients with a reliable place to go for information about their disease state and specialty medications.

The new platform provides patients with a reliable place to go for information about their disease state and specialty medications.

The average cost per prescription for a specialty medication is nearly $1800, according to an estimate in Express Scripts’ 2011 Drug Trend Report. Improper utilization and nonadherence of these types of therapies causes significant waste in the pharmacy benefit.

In an effort to curb the largely avoidable cost associated with specialty medication nonadherence, Express Scripts recently launched a new online tool called “Virtual Coaching” with HealthBridge Pharma & Biotech. This online resource will help patients with chronic disease better understand their illness and the ways in which their medications work. Among those conditions included are hepatitis C, autoimmune disorders, hemophilia, and multiple sclerosis.

The complex treatment regimens and unusual routes of administration associated with specialty medications can be difficult to remember, even when patients are armed with instructions from a physician and a pharmacist consultation. More than 60% of patients cannot accurately repeat the medication use instructions given to them by their physicians 10 minutes after receiving the information, according to the National Council on Patient Information and Education.

Relying on the results of a Google search to refer back to information about medical treatments, disease symptoms, and drug indications may prove to be a risky practice. The information found online has the potential to be misleading and may contain false claims about a drug’s efficacy or safety. Most importantly, the results gleaned from an online search may fail to address critical questions a patient has about his or her medications, including dosing information and contraindications. Accessing quality information may be especially challenging for patients who are chronically ill.

With Virtual Coaching, patients have an online destination for their educational needs. The website features instructional videos, downloadable forms, tracking charts, information about a drug’s mechanism of action, and links to patient support communities. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can submit videos to the website tailored to patient need.

“Innovative, detailed patient education is especially important for patients who are prescribed specialty medications, which often include a therapy that is more complex and demanding than non-specialty therapies,” said Everett Neville, vice president and chief trade relations officer at Express Scripts. “Virtual Coaching is an outstanding tool for patients, as well as prescribers, who now have assurance that their patients can continue to access important information in an easy to understand format after they leave a doctor’s office.”

To see an example of the type of content that will be featured on Virtual Coaching, follow the below link for a video on hepatitis C:

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