A new Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ:WAG) study comparing utilization rates of patients filling 90-day prescription medications using community and mail order pharmacies found that when co-pay costs are similar, patients preferred the community pharmacy channel option by a ratio of four to one. The study also found that, contrary to industry perception, the overall cost per claim between the two did not differ significantly. The study, titled “Community Pharmacy and Mail Order Cost and Utilization for 90-Day Maintenance Medication Prescriptions,” was published in the print and online editions of the April 2012 Vol. 18, No. 3 issue of The Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.
Community pharmacies have provided 90-day retail pharmacy programs as an alternative to mail order for some time. However, there has been little research investigating patient preference for one channel over the other. For this study, pharmacy claims and eligibility data from employer group clients of a large pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) between January 2008 and September 2010 were analyzed. Employer groups were selected if they offered 90-day community pharmacy and mail order dispensing subject to equivalent benefits (defined as plans in which the mean and median copayments per claim for community and mail order pharmacy, by tier, differed by no more than 5 percent).
“We understand that patients seek choice when it comes to how their prescription medications are filled,” said Jeffrey Kang, MD, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “This study confirms that when given the option under a cost-neutral plan, patients prefer filling 90-day prescriptions at community pharmacies over mail order by a significant margin. While we are aware that some patients have a high satisfaction rate with mail order, the findings also further reinforce that many patients value convenient access and the opportunity to establish a personal relationship with a pharmacist through face-to-face interaction.”
In addition to preference for community pharmacy fills for a market-basket of maintenance medications, the study demonstrated that there was no significant difference between the employer’s cost per prescription for 90-day maintenance medications in either channel.
“In spite of general industry perceptions to the contrary, this research shows that the cost of 90-day retail is not materially higher than mail order,” said Kang. “It also supports the evidence we have seen that by offering a 90-day community pharmacy option along with 90-day mail and 30-day retail programs, employers and plans can maximize their prescription savings by increasing patient choice while improving adherence, outcomes and patient satisfaction in the process. No matter which channel patients prefer, Walgreens offers them a convenient, cost effective option.”
Published peer-reviewed studies are critical when looking at comparative effectiveness and determining the best, cost-effective outcomes. Walgreens conducted this study as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to offer patients and payers solutions that address medication utilization for 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions. Walgreens is committed to conducting peer-reviewed research that looks at the collaborative care model with all contributing health care professionals.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 7,847 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.Business Wire
Last updated on: 10/04/2012