) continues to improve pharmacy care, and its pharmacy benefits
management (PBM) franchise. To improve pharmacy care delivery and
adherence rates at its pharmacies, the company sharpened its
focus on addressing medication non-adherence and associated
health care challenges for patients with coronary artery disease
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According to a study conducted by CVS Caremark and Brigham and
Women's Hospital, medication adherence leads to significantly
lower risk of coronary artery-related events, mortality,
readmissions and costs for patients. The study titled - The
Impact of Medication Adherence on Coronary Artery Disease Costs
and Outcomes: A Systematic Review, was published in the April
edition of the
American Journal of Medicine.
The study examined more than 2500 studies published between 1966
and 2011. The researchers scrutinized 25 studies, which met the
criteria of medication adherence inclusion and coronary disease
outcome. Based on the review, the researchers concluded that
medication adherence boosts health outcomes for patients. This is
expected to result in annual costs saving in the range of $294
and $868 per patient.
The Bigger Picture
Heart disease is a major cause of death in the U.S. and coronary
heart disease is the most prevalent of all heart diseases.
According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately
600,000 Americans die of heart disease annually with over 385,000
deaths due to coronary heart disease.
As per CDC findings, heart disease costs the U.S. economy up to
$108.9 billion every year. Notably, annual excess health care
costs due to medication non-adherence are approximated at $290
billion. However, these costs can be curbed by driving adherence
According to CVS Caremark, it has the highest medication
adherence rates relative to other pharmacy retailers in the U.S.
The company's innovative Pharmacy Advisor, a medication adherence
program for chronic conditions, already addresses CAD. The
company's flagship PBM program is also available to Medicare
clients. We believe that the program should further improve
adherence rates and control avoidable health care costs with
increasing awareness. However, CVS Caremark faces a tough
competitive landscape for its PBM franchise, with
) leading the market share.
Due to the lack of positive driving events, estimates for CVS
Caremark's ongoing and next quarter remained stagnant over the
last month. Accordingly, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3
(Hold). While we remain on the sidelines for CVS Caremark, other
healthcare stocks, carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), such as
) are likely to do well.