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MedImpact Study Highlights Treatment Challenges Among Those Suffering from Hypertension

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 16, 2007 - MedImpact, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company that does not sell drugs, today announced research findings showing that many individuals who suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) don't always take important prescription medications that help control their condition. Understanding how these choices impact a patient's health is important to payors focused on improving clinical care and managing overall health care costs. This new research has been documented in a report titled Effects of Initial Antihypertensive Drug Class on Patient Persistence and Compliance in a Usual-Care Setting in the U.S., and was published in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension. Scott & White Health Plans and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation were collaborators with MedImpact on the study.

There are many different types of medications used to treat hypertension, and these different options are organized into drug classes. These include angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs), calcium channel blockers (CCBs), beta blockers (BBs), and diuretics. The MedImpact study compared compliance rates for these various drug classes and found that irrespective of the class prescribed, compliance with antihypertensives is only about 50 percent at best. This means that about half of the individuals did not consistently take their prescribed antihypertensive medications.

"We've known that two common classes of antihypertensives, ARBs and ACEIs, seem to be associated with higher compliance levels," said Dr. Louis Brunetti, senior vice president and chief medical officer for MedImpact. "Our study validates this knowledge but goes one step further by demonstrating that compliance levels still fall short, no matter which drug class is selected for each new prescription. This points to the need for all of us to work harder to find new and innovative ways to encourage compliance with important drug therapies that control hypertension, including strategies to help change behaviors."

The prevalence of hypertension continues to be one of the most challenging health care issues today. Antihypertensives are effective in controlling hypertension, and health care costs are lower for those with hypertension who have their disease under control, hence, the importance of compliance with antihypertensive drug therapy. While previous research has compared various antihypertensive medications, the MedImpact study is the first to include a drug class level comparison of compliance to commonly-prescribed antihypertensive therapies in a large, U.S.-based pharmacy claims database.

Authors Patel, et al. point out that there are significant differences in the compliance rates for each drug class considered, and were highest for ARBs and ACEIs. In fact, these two drug classes are virtually equal in terms of compliance and other outcomes. This is significant because ARBs are only available as branded drugs and can often cost more than generic ACEI options. Although diuretics are the lowest-cost option available, compliance levels were lowest for these drugs when compared to other drug classes included in the study.

In addition to its publication in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the MedImpact study was selected by the Journal as its continuing medical education (CME) paper of the month. Those who complete the online CME course associated with the study can earn one unit of CME credit. The online course is sponsored by the Journal of Clinical Hypertension and is accredited by Winthrop-University Hospital (WUH).

"There are many different types of prescription medications that can be used to control hypertension, and selecting the therapy that results in the best outcomes possible is highly desirable," said Dr. Brunetti. "Studies like this provide valuable information to the medical community and also help MedImpact work more effectively with its clients to further address drug compliance and other issues that impact positive outcomes."

About MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc.

MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., based in San Diego, California, was founded in 1989. The company currently serves 27 million individuals nationwide with clients that include Fortune 500 corporations, unions, managed care organizations, insurance carriers, third-party administrators, as well as local, state and federal employee programs. MedImpact bases its success on delivering innovative products and services designed to lower overall client cost while increasing member satisfaction and quality of care.


For MedImpact Healthcare Systems
Gayle Griffithe,
Dawn Swett,

Posted: October 2007