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Positive Results Reported at AMCP Meeting for Program for Patients With MS

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 10, 2003-- New patients treated for multiple sclerosis who are enrolled in an information-and-education program are more likely to stay on their treatment regimens according to a study released today by Medco Health Solutions, Inc., the nation's leading pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy 15th Annual Meeting and Showcase, April 9-12, 2003, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

"Patient education and knowledge are critical in successfully treating and managing multiple sclerosis," said Dr. Robert Epstein, chief medical officer, Medco Health. "Our Positive Approaches® Multiple Sclerosis program enables patients to play an active role in managing their disease and helps them to improve their health and quality of life."

The outcomes study revealed that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who are new to MS therapy were significantly more adherent to their doctor's recommended medication therapy and remained on their treatment program longer than a control group of patients not participating in the program.

The study, which examined the persistency (duration of therapy) and compliance rates of 5,676 people new to MS therapies, found:

The persistency at the end of a 12-month period for program participants was 87 percent, a 10 percent greater persistency rate for program participants than a control group.

Program participants continued taking their therapies an average of 38 days longer than the non-program participants.

New program participants were adherent with their doctor-ordered therapies 91 percent of the time within 12 months after starting therapy. Currently, more than 15,000 people suffering from MS are enrolled in the Positive Approaches Multiple Sclerosis Program. The program is designed to help patients meet the challenges of living with MS by providing engaging, user-friendly information and timely support to better educate them about their disease and to increase their knowledge of their condition. The program also helps promote compliance and persistency with medication use as prescribed, optimize patient prescription refill behavior as appropriate, and facilitate and improve interactions between patients and physicians.

"Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease, with symptoms that can vary greatly from person to person. This can leave individuals frustrated and sometimes even confused," said Dr. Nancy Holland, Vice President Clinical Programs and the Professional Resource Center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "Programs like this, from Medco Health, offer an important benefit to patients, providing them encouragement and a guiding hand to make disease management easier and more comfortable."

Program interventions tailored to MS patients include a welcome brochure providing practical knowledge to help manage MS, three planned tele-counseling calls and potentially two medication drop-off calls regarding topics such as National Multiple Sclerosis Society enrollment, therapy expectations, side effect management, and any injection concerns. Each participant also receives a voucher for a complimentary one-year membership to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and a bi-annual newsletter designed to update participants on current MS information. Program participants have reported a 93 percent satisfaction rate with the MS health information they receive. In addition, physicians who treat program participants also receive targeted educational materials with updated standards of care or copies of educational materials sent to patients.

The program has been developed by Medco Health, with guidance from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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