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By the Numbers: Transparency into Prescription Drug Costs

August 30, 2018 | Prescription Savings

Many Americans are seeking solutions to the rising cost of prescription drugs. In fact, a recent CVS Health poll conducted by Morning Consult found that nearly eight in ten Americans (79 percent) are concerned about prescription drug costs and the impact on their families’ budgets.

For consumers, being armed with information about their benefits and what a drug will cost is key to helping them better predict and manage their out-of-pocket costs. According to the poll, 84 percent of Americans believe that having greater transparency and visibility into how much a therapy will cost is the most valuable information they need from the prescription drug supply chain. Yet despite the demand for transparency, 57 percent of Americans say that, most of the time, they don’t know how much a prescription will cost before filling it.

CVS Health is committed to expanding visibility into prescription drug costs from the point of prescribing to the pharmacy counter. Our programs are enabling more informed decision-making while also helping to improve access to affordable medicines.

Connecting Patients to Affordable Medicines at the Pharmacy Counter

Americans regularly look to their pharmacist as a key resource, with 44 percent of respondents citing pharmacists as their top source of information on drug pricing. CVS Health’s 30,000 pharmacists know firsthand how rising drug costs can impact Americans, and are well-equipped to provide patients with information on the cost of their medications. The Rx Savings Finder tool, for example, is available at each of our 9,800 locations and is designed to help patients maximize their benefits and realize savings to reduce out of pocket costs.

Enhancing Transparency to Locate Lower-Cost Medicines

The poll also revealed that Americans would benefit from knowing what care options and medication alternatives are available. According to the survey, 64 percent of respondents stated that they would search for a lower-cost medicine instead of forgoing treatment if they were unable to afford the therapy they were originally prescribed.

We’re connecting patients to lower cost, clinically appropriate medicines to improve affordability and increase adherence, which in turn, improves health outcomes. CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) offers innovative solutions to help patients access their medicines and take them as directed.

  • Our real-time benefits program provides visibility to member-specific medication costs and available lower cost therapeutic alternatives at the point of prescribing. Prescribers using CVS Health’s real-time benefits information moved the member to a covered drug 75 percent of the time when the original drug was not on the member’s formulary, ensuring the member access to the prescribed medication. Furthermore, even if the original drug was covered, prescribers switched patients to an alternative 40 percent of the time if a lower cost option was available, resulting in average out-of-pocket member savings of $130 per filled prescription.

  • Promoting generic utilization plays a major role in helping keep overall and member-specific costs low and connecting patients to the lowest cost medicines. At CVS Health, we encourage the use of clinically appropriate therapeutic alternatives including generics, which can lower costs for members.

For more information on how CVS Health is working to expand access to more affordable and effective health care, check out our Cost of Care information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.