News | August 10, 2009

HCSC Expands Pharmacy Adherence Program for Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

August 10, 2009 – Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), which operates the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, is expanding a successful new cholesterol medication adherence program that provides physicians with greater insight into their patients’ medication use.

The pharmacy adherence program has proven to increase the use of cholesterol medication by 25 percent for those not following their doctor’s orders, the company said. As the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer with 12.4 million members, HCSC wants the program to serve as a model for the healthcare system.

“By not taking cholesterol medications, many people are subjecting themselves to serious cardiovascular complications that could otherwise be prevented,” says Fawwaz M. Shoukfeh, M.D., a physician in Texas who sees great benefit from the program. “This allows us to better communicate with our patients, improve their health, and ultimately help reduce the cost of their care.”

Originally designed with its pharmacy benefits manager, Prime Therapeutics, the program allows HCSC to analyze pharmaceutical data to identify members not refilling their prescribed cholesterol medications. The company then notifies the patients and their physicians, who also receive a customized patient report that includes lab results, drug quantities filled, dispensed dates and refill due dates. Members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas have used the program since last year.

“In addition to increasing statin medication use, the program also can save money for our customers and members,” said Kevin Slavik, senior pharmacy director at HCSC. “Through a pharmacy benefit step therapy plan, we are able to encourage the use of generic medications.”

HCSC plans to expand the program to its other Blues plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma this month. The program also will soon target diabetes and other conditions.

For more information: www.HCSC.com

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