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Press release from Business Wire

Aetna Pharmacy Management Introduces Five New Patient Safety Programs

<p class='bwalignc'> <i><b>New Aetna Rx Check</b></i><b>®<i> Programs Will Further Promote Patient Safety by Helping to Prevent Drug Misuse and Avoid Unnecessary and Potentially Dangerous Interactions</i></b> </p>

Monday, May 14, 2012

Aetna Pharmacy Management Introduces Five New Patient Safety Programs12:58 EDT Monday, May 14, 2012 HARTFORD, Conn. (Business Wire) -- Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced that it is adding five new capabilities to Aetna Rx Check®, a collection of programs designed to promote safety and prevent the misuse of various prescription drugs such as pain medications and antibiotics. Aetna Rx Check® also scans for other drug-related issues, such as drug interactions, that have unnecessary and potentially dangerous consequences to the patient. The Aetna Rx Check® Program uses a computer system to analyze members' prescription drug claims. The program identifies opportunities to help doctors improve quality of care, prevent misuse, and reduce waste in the health care system. When opportunities to improve care are found, physicians are alerted to possible drug-to-drug interactions, duplication in drug therapy or other serious complications. New programs for 2012:Therapeutic Optimization: Works to switch members taking multiple doses of a medication, to one dose per day by increasing the strength of the medication. Streamlining Therapy Program: Encourages members to try a single drug before switching to a combination product. For example, current guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommend that patients suffering from asthma use a standalone inhaler before adding a combination treatment that is more powerful and more expensive. Length of Therapy: Identifies members who have been taking medications longer than recommended in the product labeling, or supported by clinical evidence. These medications may cause safety concerns when taken longer than suggested. Maximum Dose Program: Identifies members who take daily doses of a medication that are higher than recommended in the product labeling. Prescribers will receive a letter about the high dosage, recommending a reduction. Prescribing Cascade: This program identifies cases in which a medication is prescribed to treat a side effect of another medication. In certain instances, a doctor may not realize that a member's new symptom is the interaction of two or more medications. “The Aetna Rx Check® program has been helping Aetna members safely and effectively take their medications for years,” said Edmund Pezalla, M.D., National Medical Director for Pharmaceutical Policy and Strategy. “Health care treatments evolve rapidly and the new Aetna Rx Check® programs will help us further improve safety and health outcomes.” In the first two months of 2012 alone, the Rx Check program reviewed nearly 6,500 patient records and identified approximately 1,700 opportunities to improve drug safety. When an opportunity is identified, the prescribing doctor is sent an automated safety edit alerting them to possible drug misuse or interactions. “Our automated edits are highly accurate, with 97.5% of the edits positively identifying an opportunity to improve care,” said Dr. Charles Shasky, Head of Pharmacoeconomics for Aetna Pharmacy Benefit Management. “The safety edits improve the effectiveness of drug therapies, helping our members avoid medical events that could lead to costly health complications.” The Aetna Rx Check®Program is available with all fully insured plans such as HMO and PPO and as a buy-up or a bundled service for self-insured customers. About Aetna Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.1 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see AetnaKatelyn Morgan,