Specialty Pharmacies Pivotal in Improving Healthcare Outcomes, Lowering Costs

Kidney transplant patients who went to specialty pharmacies as opposed to retail pharmacies showed 30 percent lower post-transplant-related medical costs and 13 percent lower overall healthcare costs, according to a study published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy.

The one-year study conducted by Optum followed two groups of 519 people who were enrolled in employer-sponsored benefit plans and who had had kidney transplants, and filled at least 80 percent of their prescriptions at a specialty pharmacy with those that used a retail pharmacy. Researchers found that the specialty pharmacy program group showed consistently lower costs and higher therapy adherence compared with those that didn’t.

In addition to medication dispensing, the specialty pharmacy, implemented prior to the study, includes adherence and clinical management programs, member education, and counseling services provided by specialty pharmacists trained in transplant pharmacology.

Primary outcomes included pharmacy medication costs, medical inpatient and outpatient costs and overall healthcare costs. Patient adherence to transplant medication therapy and healthcare resource utilization were also evaluated.

Key findings include the following:

  • During the first follow-up year, healthcare costs decreased by 13 percent, from $27,891 to $24,315 (P=0.03)
  • Transplant-related medical costs were 30 percent lower, from $8,486 to $5,960 (P<0.04).
  • More transplant-related prescriptions dispensed, 18.67 vs. 17.90 (P<0.05)

Researchers noted that medication non-adherence in transplant medicine is common, and occurs between 20 and 70 percent of patients, the rate varying with definitions of adherence measures and study populations. In addition, researchers say that while the rate of non-adherence is highest at one to three years post-transplant, it may happen at any point during lifelong therapy.

Source: Optum , June 27, 2013

Guide to Improving Medication Adherence

Guide to Improving Medication Adherence analyzes trends in improving medication adherence at more than 160 healthcare companies, and takes an in-depth look at pioneering efforts by Kaiser Permanente Colorado and CIGNA Pharmacy Management to improve medication compliance levels in their populations.

This entry was posted in Avoidable Hospitalization, Medication Adherence, Prescription Drugs, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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