Pharmacy benefit management firm Express Scripts is rolling out a software service to identify patients at high risk for not following their medication regime.

The firm calls the service ScreenRx and has tested it in a large-scale pilot program with 600,000 members. The pilot is scaling down and Express Scripts during the summer expects to start making the service available, initially focusing on members with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis.

The pilot testing found that 69 percent of non-adherence cases are caused by forgetfulness and procrastination, 16 percent because of the cost of medication and 15 percent because of clinical questions or concerns a patient has about the medication or disease.

Express Scripts uses more than 400 known factors about patients, their physician, the disease and prescribed therapy, and contends ScreenRx is 98 percent accurate in predicting non-adherence one year in advance. Patients identified as being at-risk because of forgetfulness or procrastination may receive daily alerts to take the medication, 90-day prescriptions or auto-renewals.

More information is available in the firm’s 2011 Drug Trend Report, which shows less than half of patients in many therapy classes take medication as prescribed. Eliminating non-adherence would save an estimated $317.4 billion annually, enough to cover insurance costs for 44.8 million Americans, according to the firm. Other findings in the report include:

* Diabetes now leads the nation in drug spending,

* U.S. spending on prescription drugs increased by 2.7 percent in 2011, the lowest rate Express Scripts has recorded in 18 years of measuring spending.

* Three classes--inflammatory conditions, multiple sclerosis and cancer--account for 57.6 percent of total specialty spending.

The 2011 Drug Trend Report is available here.

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