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    Partnership aims to make insulin more affordable

    CVS Health will launch Reduced Rx, a prescription savings program that will offer discounts on certain medications through CVS Health’s pharmacy benefits manager, CVS Caremark directly to patients. The program’s goal is to help patients with high out-of-pocket costs afford essential medications.

    Novo Nordisk will participate in the program, and CVS Health and Novo Nordisk will offer Novolin R, Novolin N and Novolin 70/30 human insulin at a cost of $25 per 10 ml vial, which reflects a potential savings of as much as $100 for cash paying patients. Generally, the cash price for Novolin ranges between $100 and $150 at retail pharmacies, according to CVS spokesperson Erin Britt.

    “We believe the Reduced Rx program works to fulfill our company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” says Britt. “The Reduced Rx prescription savings program is designed for people who are facing high out-of-pocket costs, either because they are in a high-deductible plan, or they are uninsured or underinsured. Providing a lower cost option for diabetes patients to obtain insulin has the potential to positively impact medication adherence to insulin and improve health outcomes.” 

    The Reduced Rx launch follows another affordability announcement made earlier this year by CVS Health. Working with Impax Laboratories, CVS Health announced in January that it has made the authorized generic for Adrenaclick, an epinephrine auto-injector for patients with allergic reactions, available at all CVS Pharmacy locations at the lowest cash price in the market, $109.99 for a two-pack. 

    Patients will be able to present the Reduced Rx card at any of the more than 67,000 participating pharmacies nationwide, including CVS Pharmacy locations.

    Variation on a theme

    ShehataShehata

    “This is a variation on a theme to push for value in healthcare, where a drug maker is getting a certain degree of guaranteed volume and an expansion of a PBM model into retail stores,” says Ashraf Shehata, advisory leader for health plans at KPMG. “CVS came to terms with a major drug maker with a strong position in a disease category, in this case diabetes, where there is an abundance of patients to serve.”

    The fact that CVS is looking to expand into other disease categories is telling, Shehata says. “It will be interesting how the drugstore pursues agreements with other conditions. Novolin is an older drug and this sort of agreement could be aimed at locking up major distribution that creates a barrier to make it harder for other drug makers to produce biosimilar insulins to enter the market.” 

    Next: Will this affect hospitals?

     

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