Express Scripts: Prescription spend sees highest increase in decade

The PBM builds awareness around 2014 trend report that identifies key challenges and provides important insights into the prescription drug market.

Company: Express Scripts (St. Louis, Missouri)
Campaign:  Insights from the Express Scripts 2014 Drug Trend Report
Duration:  March 10 – March 31, 2015
Budget: about $20,000

For the last 19 years, pharmacy benefit management company Express Scripts has published an annual report on use and cost of prescription medications in the US.           

The 2014 Drug Trend Report was published March 10 this year. Express Scripts’ in-house team ran a campaign that drove national awareness of findings among its healthcare payer clients (employers, health plans, government agencies, and labor unions), consumers, and other key stakeholders.

"We have access to vast, unique data that allows us to identify and highlight very important healthcare trends," explains Jennifer Luddy, senior manager, corporate communications. "This year’s report identified key challenges and provided important insights into the complex dynamics of prescription medications. It’s important to spark a national dialog about these challenges and point to the specific programs we have that address those challenges."

Messaging was driven through traditional and social media outreach as well as through content developed for Express Scripts’ dedicated research website, its sales and account teams, clients, and benefit advisors.

"Our messaging strategy changes every year based on the report findings," Luddy says. "This year’s report highlights that prescription drug spending increased 13% in 2014. That’s significant and alarming – we haven’t seen an increase that high in more than a decade. We focused on bringing attention to the trends that are driving cost up and how we can work to get cost down so patients can have access to medication they need."

The report was posted to Express Scripts’ research website on March 10. Four blog-like posts that provide context around the report as well as solutions for payers were also posted to the research website.

An email blast announcing the report release and key messages went out to benefit advisors on March 10.

Luddy and her team began reaching out to reporters covering healthcare at top-tier national outlets just ahead of March 10.

Key report insights were posted regularly between March 10 and 31 to Twitter and LinkedIn. About $3,500 was spent on promoted Twitter posts.

Express Scripts’ sales and account management teams were provided various messaging materials, including finding highlights, talking points, sample social media posts, and email templates.

Express Scripts’ senior director of research and two senior clinical experts presented report findings and discussed implications during a webinar held March 25 for clients.

On March 10 alone, the report earned more than 764 media placements. The 2013 report generated 194 earned placements on its first day of release (April 8, 2014).

A total of 1,086 earned stories (1.08 billion impressions) ran between March 10 and April 16 this year in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, AP, Bloomberg, Reuters, Forbes, CNBC (Squawk Box and, and

"Express Scripts earned a little more than 4 billion media impressions for the full year in 2014, so to get more than 1 billion impressions with this campaign in just five weeks time is significant," Luddy notes.

The report was mentioned in 1,559 total posts on social media channels between March 10 and April 15. There were 986 posts about the 2014 report on March 10 this year, up from 565 posts about the 2013 report on April 8, 2014.

More than 10,291 unique visitors viewed campaign-related content on the site between March 10 and April 16. Luddy notes content related to the previous year’s report drew 29,907 unique visitors between April 8, 2014, and December 31, 2014.

As of April 16, the report had 10,034 unique downloads, which Luddy says exceeded expectations for the first five weeks. Download data for the 2013 report was unavailable.

About 250 clients attended the webinar, which beat expectations.

The in-house team is currently focused on driving national discussions around other Express Scripts’ research findings. 

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