Program helps patients who skip pills

A man reaches for a medicine bottle as he takes his prescription pills in Miami, Fla.

TEXT OF STORY

BILL RADKE: The big pharmacy benefits company Express Scripts has rolled out a new program this week designed to predict who might stop taking their medicines. Then, contact those people before they stop.

The company thinks this will be a money saver,
as Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer explains.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Express Scripts is applying behavioral science to health care. Bob Nease is the company's chief scientist. He says the pill skippers include those of us with kids at home.

BOB NEASE: Having a routine that you follow every day gets disrupted. Much more easily.

MARSHALL GENZER: I'll say.

My 18-month old twins have gleefully ripped my routine to shreds. Nease says, everyone under age 45 is less likely to take their medicine. Express Scripts combs through the prescriptions to find who skips refills. Then the company calls them or sends a text.

Leighton Ku teaches health policy at George Washington University. He says insurers could save money.

LEIGHTON KU: This can help reduce the cost for things like being hospitalized, lots of visits to specialists.

Ku says the health care reform law outlaws lifetime limits on coverage, so insurers are especially interested in prevention.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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