Doing Our Part for American Heart Month

We didn’t want to let American Heart Month slip away without weighing in on the importance of cardiovascular health and the critical role that medication plays.

Am I the only one surprised that heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States? Cancer is a close second, yet it seems to have dominated the nation’s healthcare dialogue for decades. However, heart disease is still responsible for one in four American deaths.

Knowing those statistics makes this one all the more alarming: Approximately 50 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease or its major risk factors (high cholesterol and blood pressure) have poor adherence to their prescribed medications.

Modern medicine has developed nearly 100 blood pressure medications that have proven to improve patient outcomes over the past 60 years. Yet despite the therapeutic effectiveness, only half the people who need them take them as prescribed.

More than 13 percent of Rx Savings Solutions members are taking medications for cardiovascular disease. What can we do to produce better adherence and outcomes?

Cost is an obvious barrier to medication adherence. Of course, this is our wheelhouse. We’ve helped members save more than $3.1 million on blood pressure and cholesterol medications to date. By acting on our savings suggestions, they see savings ranging from $10 to more than $1,500 per fill.

Even when cardiovascular drugs are affordable, it doesn’t mean they’ll be taken as prescribed. Often the reason is simple forgetfulness, which tends to increase when a patient has to manage multiple medications in their medicine cabinet.

Again, it’s another way Rx Savings Solutions helps with outcomes. Every member’s Medicine Cabinet is automatically populated with all medications, strengths and dosages. More importantly, the member can set reminders to take each drug at the proper time of day or interval.

Will savings and reminders contribute to better outcomes for our members? We don’t have the data to prove it yet, but we know it’s the right thing to do—in honor of American Health Month.