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February 24, 2020

Are CVS Customers Better Than Most at Taking Their Pills?

Filed under: Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:42 am

Prescription adherence, as it is called, is a real problem. About half of prescriptions issued each year are either not filled or the medicine is not taken correctly. (See report.) So if someone has come up with a more effective method to ensure that patients take their drugs properly, that would be good news.

Along these lines, a curious new claim has recently adorned CVS circulars that asserts that “CVS customers are better than most at staying on their prescriptions*.”

CVS better than most

That asterisk goes to a small footnote on the front page of their advertisement.


“Based on 2019 study of national retain chain customer prescription adherence for diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia medications.”

Checking the CVS website for further details, the following is displayed:

CVS better reasons

So, out of curiosity, we asked the CVS PR folks for a copy of the study, who did it and paid for it, how competitors fared, and whether the study explicitly cited the three elements above as reasons for CVS customers’ superior adherence record. The company only responded with this statement:

CVS Pharmacy worked with an independent third-party firm to study data for the top dispensed prescriptions in the U.S. across different pharmacy competitors. That data was used to create a campaign educating our customers on the benefits of filling prescriptions at CVS Pharmacy.

All this seems to say is that CVS paid for the study. We are left guessing as to which competitors did better than CVS, and which did worse. But without seeing the actual study, we simply don’t know if the conclusions that CVS drew are substantiated by it.

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  1. Check out CVS in this story for errors in prescriptions in 2014:
    Think it’s improved since then? Think again:

    Comment by Pete — February 24, 2020 @ 7:30 am
  2. from that article: The American Psychiatric Association is particularly concerned about CVS, America’s eighth-largest company, which it says routinely ignores doctors’ explicit instructions to dispense limited amounts of medication to mental health patients. The pharmacy’s practice of providing three-month supplies may inadvertently lead more patients to attempt suicide by overdosing, the association said.

    Comment by Eileen — February 24, 2020 @ 7:34 am
  3. The so-called study is worthless primarily because CVS paid for it.

    Comment by hmc — February 24, 2020 @ 8:54 am
  4. This one of the more stupid ad campaigns that I’ve seen recently. They’re telling me that if I become one of their customers, I’ll in all likelihood be better at taking my meds? C’mon!

    Comment by Bill — February 24, 2020 @ 11:38 am
  5. I can believe CVS thinks their customers regularly take their pills because CVS has one of the most insidious calling campaigns I’ve ever seen. You get robo-call after robo-call if it’s anywhere near the time to renew your prescriptions, and then if the CVS banner on the Caller dial doesn’t make you pick up the phone, the Target name will be on the next call. They will hound you every day until you go and pick up the pills, two or three calls a day, relentlessly. I’m not used to such a nanny-like behavior!

    Comment by MerryMarjie — February 24, 2020 @ 1:59 pm
  6. CVS is by FAR the worst of the bunch…I would not trust them with anything. This claim is laughable!!

    Comment by CVeal — February 24, 2020 @ 9:39 pm
  7. Know what keeps me on my med’s? Self-interest. I don’t need some bee-ess nanny advertising to watch out for me.

    Comment by Marty — February 25, 2020 @ 7:12 am
  8. Does this survey even matter if I can’t afford the medication??

    Is CVS cheaper for pills than say Wal-Greeens or Rite-aid??

    Comment by richard Ginn — February 27, 2020 @ 11:29 am

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