More Adherent If You Use Mail

This was obviously a great study for the PBMs although it was a Kaiser research project.  The study showed that 84.7% of patients that used mail at least 2/3rds of the time stuck with their physician’s regimen versus 76.9% who picked up the medication at a Kaiser retail location. 

“While everyone knew that mail- service pharmacy made prescriptions more affordable, this new empirical evidence shows that it can also improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions.  This should be an ‘eye-opener’ for any policymaker who wants to address the chronic care crisis in America,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt

There was nothing new about the fact that people with a financial incentive and who lived farther away from their retail pharmacy were more likely to use mail order. 

The question I would have is whether there is inherent selection bias.  Are people who use mail better planners and therefore simply more likely to be adherent? 

The other question I would have is around Kaiser as the example.  The members have to use Kaiser retail pharmacies, and I’ve heard that they aren’t always in easy to access locations like a CVS or Walgreens store and that there can be significant wait times.

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