CVS Caremark Sponsored Research Examines Impact of Patient's Social Support Network on Medication Adherence

 CVS Caremark Sponsored Research Examines Impact of Patient's Social Support
                       Network on Medication Adherence

Medication reminders, assistance with the purchasing or administering therapy
and other practical support most closely associated with improved adherence

PR Newswire

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Jan. 3, 2013

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The clinical and financial
impact of medication nonadherence on the U.S. health care system – estimated
at nearly $300 billion a year – has motivated numerous researchers to evaluate
interventions to identify cost-effective best practices to address the issue.
In addition, while a patient's social support network has been associated with
improved outcomes and healthier behaviors, the role a patient's social
connections and networks can play in improving medication adherence has not
been well defined. Now, new research sponsored by CVS Caremark has found that
practical social support is associated with improved medication adherence.

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"The growing popularity of online social networking has raised the question of
how social connectedness can impact a person's health and whether it plays any
role in improving medication adherence," said Niteesh K. Choudhry MD, PhD,
associate physician, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics,
Brigham and Women's Hospital and associate professor, Harvard Medical School.
"Our research suggests that leveraging a patient's existing social contacts
and networks to help them with the practical aspects of being adherent, such
as providing transportation to the pharmacy or picking up medications for the
patient, could be both an effective and cost-effective way to help improve

The study, entitled "Association Between Different Types of Social Support and
Medication Adherence," was conducted by researchers at Harvard University,
Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark and was published in the
December 2012 issue of the American Journal of Managed Care (
The researchers reviewed 50 peer-reviewed articles about studies which
directly measured the relationship between medication adherence and some form
of social support. Four categories of social support for patients were
identified and evaluated: structural, practical, emotional and a combination
approach. The results indicate that greater practical support was more
consistently associated with improved adherence to medication, with the
majority of studies evaluating practical support (67 percent) identifying a
significant association between the social support and medication adherence.

"This study is part of our ongoing research collaboration with Harvard and
Brigham and Women's Hospital to better understand the factors that impact
medication adherence," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice
president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, who heads the research
initiative that conducted the study. "While more research is needed to
identify how best to apply these findings to patient care, these results
suggest that practical support from a patient's social network of family and
friends can be a simple and cost effective way to improve medication adherence
and chronic disease management for patients."

The four categories of social support identified in the research include:

  oStructural support – marital status, living arrangements and size of the
    patient's social network
  oPractical support – helping the patients by paying for medications,
    picking up prescriptions, reading labels, filling pill boxes and providing
  oEmotional support – providing encouragement and reassurance of worth,
    listening and providing spiritual support
  oCombination support – any combination of the three support structures
    listed above

About CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark is dedicated to helping people on their path to better health as
the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States. Through the
company's more than 7,400 CVS/pharmacy stores; its leading pharmacy benefit
manager serving more than 60 million plan members; and its retail health
clinic system, the largest in the nation with more than 600 MinuteClinic
locations, it is a market leader in mail order, retail and specialty pharmacy,
retail clinics, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As a pharmacy
innovation company with an unmatched breadth of capabilities, CVS Caremark
continually strives to improve health and lower costs by developing new
approaches such as its unique Pharmacy Advisor program that helps people with
chronic diseases such as diabetes obtain and stay on their medications. Find
more information about how CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy for better
health at

Media Contact:
Christine Cramer
CVS Caremark
(401) 770 3317


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