June 8, 2006

Rockville, MD, June 8, 2006– DrFirst and Group Health Incorporated (GHI) announced today that they are jointly launching an ePrescribing medication compliance and adherence program in New York. The primary objectives are to utilize electronic prescribing to improve the quality and relevance of clinical information provided to physicians at the point of care and to improve the overall quality of care for targeted populations through the appropriate utilization of and adherence to chronic medications. Merck & Co, Inc. is providing support for the adherence portion of this project.

“Studies estimate that chronic medication adherence is just 50% and from 6-44% of prescriptions are never filled, leading to poor health outcomes and increased costs,” said Maria C. Martins-Lopes, MD, chief medical officer, GHI. “This program is designed to give our providers and members information to effectively manage the clinician-determined therapy.”

DrFirst will provide its award-winning Rcopia electronic prescription management technology to 140 primary care physicians, 70 in upstate New York and 70 in the greater New York City area. During the program, the providers will receive specific messages regarding patients who receive prescriptions for asthma or osteoporosis.

“As patients take a more active role in managing their health care costs, understanding drug treatment options is becoming increasingly important. Electronic prescribing allows physicians and patients to explore and discuss medication choices and costs at the point of care, before the prescription is written. With the touch of a button or the tap of a stylus, physicians are able to access a patient’s medical and drug history, allergies and formulary and eligibility information,” said James Chen, CEO, DrFirst. “An important next step in electronic prescribing is to improve feedback to providers regarding the result of a prescribing event. If the patient has not filled the prescription or is not adhering to the prescribed drug therapy, the physician can be given an opportunity to intervene in order to improve the patient’s clinical outcome.”

“Electronic prescribing significantly simplifies prescription management and improves patient safety and care by allowing doctors to check for drug interactions or allergies at the point of prescribing”, said Patrick Counihan, Vice President, Health Care Systems, at Merck. “This adherence program enhances the information provided through e-prescribing to include adherence and medication data that will notify physicians when a particular patient may benefit from a discussion about the importance of continuing appropriate drug therapy.”

About GHI

Group Health Incorporated (GHI) is a statewide health insurer serving New Yorkers since 1937. GHI and its

wholly owned subsidiary, GHI HMO, provide health care coverage and administrative services to more than 2.6 million people. GHI offers customers a variety of PPO, EPO, and HMO programs, as well as prescription drug, dental, and vision plans. Throughout its history GHI has pioneered many of the programs that are now standard in the health insurance field. For additional information about GHI, please visit

About Merck
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines in over 20 therapeutic categories. The company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit

DrFirst also provides leading edge secure text messaging platforms.