5 Significant Studies: Why Research Matters

Dec 10, 2013
Highlighted in peer-reviewed industry publications, our evidence-based research plays an important role in helping us develop breakthrough solutions.

At the Express Scripts Lab, we’re passionate about exploring innovations that improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and drive out pharmacy-related waste.

Through our understanding of consumer behavior, drawing upon the expertise of clinical specialists and the ability to leverage actionable data, we’re able to develop practical solutions to solve healthcare problems.

Insights from our research save our clients billions of dollars every year. More importantly, these insights help patients make better decisions and ultimately achieve healthier outcomes.

Research Drives What We Do

To this website, we recently added a “Publications” tab, which lists some of our more important studies that have been published in peer-reviewed, industry journals over the past few years.

Our evidence-based research plays an important role in helping us test, learn and develop breakthrough solutions, and I’d like to highlight five studies of significance:

1. “Choice Architecture Is a Better Strategy Than Engaging Patients to Spur Behavior Change” (Health Affairs)

What is the value of patient engagement? Much of the healthcare community believes patient involvement is necessary to improve patient behavior. However, this study showed that structural changes, such as plan design and benefits implementation, made on behalf of patients, was just as successful in helping patients adopt healthier behaviors.

2. “Dispensing Channel and Medication Adherence: Evidence Across Three Therapy Classes” (American Journal of Managed Care)

Patients receiving prescription medications through a home delivery pharmacy are more adherent, but why? This study busts several myths about home delivery and, in doing so, provides the industry’s most comprehensive apples-to-apples comparison of adherence rates achieved at retail versus home delivery pharmacies.

3. “Impact of Specialty Pharmacy on Treatment Costs for Rheumatoid Arthritis” (American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits)

How can specialty pharmacy improve outcomes? On average, 40% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are nonadherent to medication therapy due to uncomfortable side effects, perceived lack of efficacy and high costs. This study showed that adherence increased when medications are filled through a specialty pharmacy, which helps patients better understand their treatment and optimize their therapy plan.

4. “The Cost of Nonadherence to Chronic Medications: A Closer Look at the Costs Associated With Diabetes, Hypertension and Dyslipidemia” (American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits)

How much does nonadherence cost us? According to the latest Drug Trend Report, the U.S. wasted more than $300 billion treating unnecessary medical complications that could have been avoided if patients had taken their medications as prescribed. This study developed a methodology to estimate the national-level and state-level annual costs associated with nonadherence for three prevalent conditions — diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia.

5. “Discontinuation Rates and Healthcare Costs in Adult Patients Starting Generic Versus Brand SSRI or SNRI Antidepressants in Commercial Health Plans” (Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy)

What’s the difference between branded and generic medications? From a clinical standpoint, nothing. Generic medications dispensed in the U.S. must meet the same strict standards of the FDA for quality and therapeutic efficacy. These drugs go through rigorous testing prior to approval. So while generics are clinically equivalent, their average cost is 81% less than a brand medication, resulting in billions of dollars in potential savings to both patients and plan sponsors. This study provides evidence supporting the safety profiles of generic antidepressants.

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