Specialty Connect Program Found to Improve Drug Adherence

CVS program indicates option of in-store pickup or home delivery improved adherence rates.

Data from a new CVS specialty prescription services program found that there was a significant improvement in the likelihood of patients remaining adherent to specialty drug regimens.

A new pilot study published in the Journal of American Pharmacists Association evaluated CVS Health’s specialty prescription services program, Specialty Connect.

The results showed that new patients enrolled in the study were 17.5% more likely to pick up their first refill. Existing specialty patients had an 11.4% point improvement in adherence compared with a control group.

Those enrolled in the study had the option to have their medications delivered to their house or doctor’s office, or to pick it up from their local CVS Pharmacy. So far, more than 100,000 patients have been served, and more than half choose to pick up their prescriptions at retail, according to CVS.

"The specialty market is growing rapidly and new high-cost specialty drugs, that were once limited to small patient populations, are now increasingly being indicated to treat many more patients," said Senior Vice President of CVS Health William Shrank, MD. "As new specialty medications are introduced, adherence to therapy will be particularly important to optimize the benefit of these very expensive medications. Specialty Connect, combined with evidence-based benefit design and utilization management strategies, can increase the likelihood that the most appropriate patients receive specialty medications and that, once received, they take them as prescribed."

These specialty medicines are only available at certain specialty pharmacies for required safety and compliance protocols.

This causes a lot of difficulty among patients filling out new prescriptions for their specialty medication. One-quarter of traditional retail pharmacies are unable to fill a specialty prescription without delays or complications.

CVS Specialty makes it easier for patients to get started on their medications and allow for pick up or mail delivery, according to CVS.

"CVS Specialty is the only specialty pharmacy that integrates rare disease management and coordinated care programs to make it easier for patients to start and stay on complex treatments," said President of CVS Specialty and Executive Vice President of CVS Health, Alan Lotvin, MD. "Since we launched Specialty Connect across all CVS Pharmacy locations, we have seen high rates of adherence, and our specialty patients have reported extremely high satisfaction with their service."