Adherence Improves With 90-Day Medication Supply

April 7, 2010

Medication adherence increased in patients who received a 90-day supply compared with those who received a 30-day supply, according to a recent presentation at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s Annual Meeting.

Medication adherence increased in patients who received a 90-day supply compared with those who received a 30-day supply, according to a recent presentation at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s Annual Meeting.

Hermes and colleagues1 of BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois compared adherence data from patients treated with long-term medications from 1 of 3 classes: cholesterol-lowering, hypertension, and diabetes drugs. Members of BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois were identified in a claims database. After 540 days of follow-up, patients with a 90-day supply of medication were 7.1% to 9.9% more likely to adhere to treatment (Figure). Nonadherence was 40% less likely to occur in those patients who received 90-day supplies of medication.

To improve rates of adherence, organizations are initiating programs to encourage patients to receive 90-day prescriptions.

In September, Walgreens announced a broad initiative to increase the number of 90-day prescriptions it dispenses. According to a statement, the company will work with patients, physicians, insurers, employers, and MCOs to convert traditional 30-day long-term–care prescriptions into 90-day prescriptions.

“For many chronic-care conditions, Walgreens has seen an approximate 15% increase in adherence to medications for patients receiving a 90-day retail prescription versus those receiving a 30-day supply,” said Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO.2

Wasson noted that Walgreens has already seen success with 90-day supplies of medications in targeted Walgreens programs. “Taking into account that each 90-day prescription fill equals 3 times the volume of a 30-day fill, more than 24% of our Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ prescription volume and 47% of our Prescription Savings Club members’ prescription volume are filled as 90-day supplies at our retail pharmacies. Based on that experience, we are confident this program will be extremely well received.”

Editor’s note: In the next issue of Drug Benefit Trends, look for additional coverage of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s Annual Meeting, April 7 to 10, in San Diego. We will be providing news reports from the meeting, and podcasts of interviews will be available online at www.drugbenefittrends.com.

References:

References
1. Hermes M, Gleason PP, Starner CI. Adherence to chronic medication therapy associated with 90-day supplies compared with 30-day supplies [abstract]. J Manag Care Pharm. 2010;16:141-142.
2. Walgreens. 90-Day supply program to improve overall healthcare. September 29, 2009. http://www.news-medical.net/news/20090929/90-day-supply-program-to-improve-overall-healthcare.aspx. Accessed March 25, 2010.