CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) announced today the results of its 2009 Health IQ study which examined consumer attitudes and behaviors around health care and prescription usage. Among its findings, the study underscores the need for expanded health care coverage along with cost savings realized by improving health care delivery.
Of all consumers surveyed, 13% reported that they were not covered by a prescription drug health insurance plan. Those under the age of 65 and those with a household income of less than $50,000 are less likely to be covered. Additionally, 15% of caregivers are not covered. About 1 in 10 consumers (12%) don't obtain yearly checkups, but the number jumps to 26% for those without prescription drug coverage.
While many consumers consider prescription costs confusing, most (66%) have not spoken to anyone in the past 12 months about how to save money on their prescriptions and some (one-fourth) simply don't know who to ask. Among the one-third who have sought advice, an equal proportion spoke to their pharmacist or their doctor.
"Prescription drugs account for about ten percent of what we spend annually on health care in the U.S.," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark. "Health care reform and expanded coverage should include prescription drug benefits because prescription medications are one of the most effective ways to reduce overall health care costs."
CVS Caremark has made improving medication adherence a top priority. Through CVS Caremark's Proactive Pharmacy Care program, the Company is focused on helping consumers understand the benefits of taking their medicine consistently, and how they can reduce the cost.
CVS Caremark's 25,000 pharmacists and other health care professionals at the Company's 6,900 retail stores, 57 specialty pharmacies and 500 MinuteClinics help to ensure that customers take their prescriptions, and renew them, in a timely fashion. CVS Caremark pharmacists also inform customers about generic drugs which are a low cost alternative to name-brand drugs.
"When patients don't take the medications prescribed by their doctors, it hurts their health and can cost an estimated $177 billion annually," said Brennan. "Consumers can improve their health while reducing health care costs simply by sticking to their prescription drug regimens," said Brennan.
CVS Caremark commissioned a study in April of 2009 among consumers in order to gain insight on behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs surrounding health care in general and prescription usage. An internet based study was conducted among 2,000 consumers who report taking at least one maintenance medication. The study was conducted by Cooper Research, Inc, a health care research company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.