This study looks at a program called Specialty Connect utilized by specialty pharmacies in retail pharmacies. It looked at patient adherence over a 12-month period in 115 CVS Pharmacies in the Philadelphia, PA area.
Patients with “specialty conditions” such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary arterial hypertension were recognized in the Specialty Connect system and pharmacists were prompted to talk with such patients. The patient was given the option of utilizing the service and, if he or she agreed, the choice of having the medication delivered to their home or physician’s office, or available for in-store pick up. The patient was also told the pharmacist was available for counseling 24 hours a day, were counseled on their medications and adherence, and were given the option of refill reminders. The control group followed standard procedures for dispensing and counseling.
Refills of patients who were new to therapy were monitored over the 12-month period as well as those who had previously been receiving specialty medications. Compared to control groups, patients who were new to therapy had an increase of 17.5% in the rate of obtaining a refill on their specialty medications. Patients previously receiving specialty medications had an increase between 6.6% and 10.8% in refill rates.
This study shows how impactful a pharmacist’s interventions truly can be. Especially in the case of specialty mediations, adherence is very important in not only the treatment of the conditions but the costs of the treatments and resolving of issues related to nonadherence. A program like Specialty Connect can help patients with specialty conditions gain better access to and knowledge of their medications.