WOONSOCKET – In its annual Insights report, released Thursday, CVS Caremark Corp. said its increased availability of generics and its high generic dispensing rate helped reduce spending on traditional medications by 3.6 percent for the company’s commercial clients.
According to a CVS news release, 2012 marked a high point in generic launches, with an estimated market value of brands that lost their patents in 2012 exceeding $35 billion. “CVS Caremark worked closely with [pharmacy benefit management] clients to maximize the cost-saving opportunities posed by generics as broadly as possible,” said the release.
As spending for traditional medications decreased, spending on specialty medications rose 18.1 percent over the year for commercial. This was the main drive of the overall drug trend of 0.3 percent, according to CVS.
Specialty drugs, which treat complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and cancer, now represent nearly 20 percent of total drug spending among CVS Caremark clients, said the pharmacy. The increase in specialty drug spending grew by 3 percentage points over the year, the largest increase in the past six years.
“As the generic wave begins to subside in the coming years, the impact of specialty pharmacy on client spend will only increase,” Jon Roberts, president of CVS Caremark’s pharmacy-benefit management business, said in a statement.
“We know that specialty pharmacy trend is driven by the same forces – utilization, price and drug mix – as trend for more traditional drugs,” said Roberts. “Although biogenerics are not yet a factor in helping to manage costs, CVS Caremark is still able to provide a variety of solutions to help our clients effectively manage their specialty pharmacy spend while continuing to ensure access to these medications for the patients who need them.”
In addition to tracking drug trends, CVS Caremark analyzed the impact of improved medication adherence for its PBM clients. “In 2012, CVS Caremark’s commercial clients benefited from cost savings of more than $643 million on their overall health care spend as the result of improved medication adherence for chronic conditions,” said Roberts.
CVS calculated savinsg using its proprietary Pharmacy Care Economic model, a system that “enables CVS Caremark to calculate the financial value of improved pharmacy care by taking a holistic approach to reviewing adherence, gaps in care and use of generic alternatives.”