Archive

Archive for the ‘prescription drugs’ Category

What Drives Spending and Utilization on Medicaid Drug Benefits in States?

December 20, 2014 Comments off

What Drives Spending and Utilization on Medicaid Drug Benefits in States?
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicaid is one of the country’s biggest payers for prescription drugs, but because prescription drugs have accounted for a small share of total Medicaid spending, Medicaid’s pharmacy benefit policies have not been at the top of mainstream healthcare policy debate. However, with the approval of new specialty drugs, such as the Hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi, states are mindful that the price tag for the Medicaid drug program could increase significantly. While states have implemented many cost-saving policies targeting their Medicaid prescription drug benefits, there remains room for additional cost savings, better management, and improved health outcomes. To ensure appropriate policy for this central benefit and achieve these goals, it is important to understand which drugs are most frequently prescribed and which drive spending.

Using state drug utilization data, as well as an industry drug database, this issue brief examines trends in Medicaid drug prescriptions and drug spending before rebates from 2010 through 2012.1 As part of the Medicaid drug benefit, manufacturers provide rebates to the state and federal government. However, rebates are based on proprietary data and they are not available to the public at the drug level. As a result we are unable to include them, or use this data to calculate total Medicaid drug spending. After presenting this analysis, we place these findings in the context of policy discussions. Key findings of the analysis include:

  • Comprising 35% of prescriptions and 34% of spending before rebates in 2012, Central Nervous System Agents, a class of drugs that include pain killers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, constitute the largest share of Medicaid drug utilization and spending. Within this drug class, pain killers and fever reducers represent a third of utilization.
  • Specialty drugs account for just two percent of drug utilization in 2012, but they comprise 28% of drug spending. This share increased from 2010 when they totaled 24% of drug spending before rebates. The specialty drug share of total drug spending varies at the state level.
  • Brand-name drugs account for a disproportionate amount of drug spending. In 2012, they accounted for 20% of Medicaid drug prescriptions but 76% of spending. In the past three years, the share of Medicaid drugs that are generic has risen slightly, possibly due to a number of blockbuster brand drugs losing their exclusivity and facing generic competition in the past several years.
About these ads

The Cost Savings Potential of Biosimilar Drugs in the United States

December 16, 2014 Comments off

The Cost Savings Potential of Biosimilar Drugs in the United States
Source: RAND Corporation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to release final regulations outlining lower-cost approval pathway requirements for so-called biosimilar drugs. The introduction of biosimilars is expected to reduce prices, albeit to a lesser degree than small-molecule generics. This Perspective combines prior research and recent data to estimate cost savings in the U.S. market. We predict that biosimilars will lead to a $44.2 billion reduction in direct spending on biologic drugs from 2014 to 2024, or about 4 percent of total biologic spending over the same period, with a range of $13 billion to $66 billion. While our estimate uses recent data and transparent assumptions, we caution that actual savings will hinge on the specifics of the final FDA regulations and on the level of competition.

Antimicrobial Resistance : Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations

December 15, 2014 Comments off

Antimicrobial Resistance : Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations(PDF)
Source: Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (UK)

The Review has published its first paper, Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations on December 11 at a launch event hosted by its Chair, Jim O’Neill, in London. In this report we explain why failing to tackle drug-resistant infections will cause 10 million deaths a year and cost up to US$ 100 trillion a year by 2050.

America’s Pain Points

December 12, 2014 Comments off

America’s Pain Points
Source: Express Scripts

America claims less than 5% of the world’s population, yet it consumes roughly 80% of the world’s opioid supply. Knowing the potential for misuse of these medications, and facing an increase in opioid-related deaths in this country, we wanted a deeper understanding of how patients in the U.S. are using these medications so we can identify additional ways to protect them from the risks associated with their use.

In A Nation in Pain, our research revealed a drop in short-term use of opioids, and stabilization in the number of patients using these medications longer term, which is in contrast to the increases seen in the past. Both trends indicate that doctors are being more cautious about prescribing these pain medications.

However, the research uncovered some concerning increases in the amount of prescription opioid medications Americans use, and the frequency in which these medications are used in dangerously high doses and in risky combinations with other medications.

FDA issues final rule on changes to pregnancy and lactation labeling information for prescription drug and biological products

December 4, 2014 Comments off

FDA issues final rule on changes to pregnancy and lactation labeling information for prescription drug and biological products
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a final rule today that sets standards for how information about using medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding is presented in the labeling of prescription drugs and biological products. The new content and formatting requirements will provide a more consistent way to include relevant information about the risks and benefits of prescription drugs and biological products used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The final rule replaces the current product letter categories – A, B, C, D and X – used to classify the risks of using prescription drugs during pregnancy with three detailed subsections that describe risks within the real-world context of caring for pregnant women who may need medication.

FDA approves extended-release, single-entity hydrocodone product with abuse-deterrent properties

November 28, 2014 Comments off

FDA approves extended-release, single-entity hydrocodone product with abuse-deterrent properties
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Hysingla ER (hydrocodone bitartrate), an extended-release (ER) opioid analgesic to treat pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate. Hysingla ER has approved labeling describing the product’s abuse-deterrent properties consistentwith the FDA’s 2013 draft guidance for industry, Abuse-Deterrent Opioids – Evaluation and Labeling.

Hysingla ER has properties that are expected to reduce, but not totally prevent, abuse of the drug when chewed and then taken orally, or crushed and snorted or injected. The tablet is difficult to crush, break or dissolve. It also forms a viscous hydrogel (thick gel) and cannot be easily prepared for injection. The FDA has determined that the physical and chemical properties of Hysingla ER are expected to make abuse by these routes difficult. However, abuse of Hysingla ER by these routes is still possible. It is important to note that taking too much Hysingla ER, whether by intentional abuse or by accident, can cause an overdose that may result in death.

New From the GAO

November 24, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Group Purchasing Organizations: Funding Structure Has Potential Implications for Medicare Costs. GAO-15-13, October 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-13
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666643.pdf

2. Medicare Program Integrity: CMS Pursues Many Practices to Address Prescription Drug Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. GAO-15-66, October 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-66
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666648.pdf

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 986 other followers