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CVS Health to help customers find less expensive medications

CVS Health has launched an ambitious initiative to help patients tackle the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The centerpiece of the program is a tool, the “CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder,” that will provide more transparency at CVS pharmacy counters. It will enable the company’s 30,000 pharmacists to check for prescription savings opportunities right at the counter. Pharmacists will be able to quickly review a patient's prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information to determine the best way for them to save money on out-of-pocket costs under their pharmacy benefits plan.

“Today's consumers are faced with higher prescription drug prices than ever before and many of them are now paying for a larger share of their prescription drug costs out of their own pockets at the pharmacy counter due to growth in high deductible health plans," said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. “Until now, patients haven't had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs.”

The new tool will show the pharmacist if the prescribed medication is on the patient's plan and is the lowest cost option available, and if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient's pharmacy benefit such as a generic medication. It will also show any cost savings that may be gained by filling a 90-day prescription rather than a 30-day one, and if a generic or lower-cost alternative is not available, other potential savings options for eligible or uninsured patients where allowed.

CVS said that experience has shown that patients who are confronted with high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter are less likely to pick up their prescriptions and are less likely to be adherent to their prescribed therapy. The company will launch the new system initially with its CVS Caremark PBM members, and roll it out more broadly throughout the year.

“Armed with the information available through our Rx Savings Finder, our more than 30,000 CVS pharmacists can play an important role by helping patients save money on their medications, providing advice on how and when to take them, and ultimately helping them achieve better health outcomes," said Kevin Hourican, executive VP, retail pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy.

CVS has also introduced new ways doctors of their customers can see drug costs "in real time" through a program available in the physician's office that allows prescribers to pick lower cost medicines.

The new prescription cost-saving program comes as CVS is in the process of completing its acquisition of Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company.
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