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DAW Prescriptions May Add $7.7 Billion To Healthcare Costs

March 25, 2011 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: CVS Caremark – 3.25.2011

Approximately five percent of prescriptions submitted by Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) members in a 30-day period during 2009 included a “dispense as written” (DAW) designation. This practice – whereby doctors or patients demand the dispensing of a specific brand-name drug and not a generic alternative – costs the health care system up to $7.7 billion annually, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Moreover, these requests reduce the likelihood that patients actually fill new prescriptions for essential chronic conditions.

In a study published this week in the American Journal of Medicine, the researchers demonstrate that DAW designations for prescriptions have important implications for medication adherence. They found that when starting new essential therapy, chronically ill patients with DAW prescriptions were 50 to 60 percent less likely to actually fill the more expensive brand name prescriptions than generics. “Although dispense as written requests would seem to reflect a conscious decision by patients or their physicians to use a specific agent, the increased cost sharing that results for the patient may decrease the likelihood that patients actually fill their prescriptions,” the researchers said.

“This study shows that dispense as written requests are costing the health care system billions,” said William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard, and the study’s lead author.  “The further irony is that patients with prescriptions specifying a certain brand seem less likely to fill their initial prescriptions, adding to the medication non-adherence problem.”

“Previous to this study, little was known about the frequency with which doctors and patients request dispense as written prescriptions,” said Troy A. Brennan, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark and a study author. “Those who advocate for dispense as written and argue that the practice provides patients and physicians with greater choice will probably be surprised to learn that the practice increases costs and exacerbates non-adherence.”

The study reviewed 5.6 million prescriptions adjudicated for two million patients from January 1 to January 31, 2009. The review found that 2.7 percent of those prescriptions were designated DAW by doctors, while another two percent were requested DAW by patients.

If existing safe and effective generic alternatives had been provided in place of those brand-specific prescriptions, patients would have saved $1.7 million and health plans would have spent $10.6 million less for the medications.  The researchers said that assuming a similar rate of DAW requests for the more than 3.6 billion prescriptions filled in the U.S. annually, patient costs could be reduced by $1.2 billion and overall health system costs could be reduced by $7.7 billion.

The study is a product of a previously announced three-year collaboration with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to research pharmacy claims data in order to better understand patient behavior, particularly around medication adherence.  Annual excess health care costs due to medication non-adherence in the U.S. have been estimated to be as much as $290 billion annually.

Does Your Employer Prescription Plan Cost You… Nothing At All?

February 03, 2010 By: Tylar Masters Category: Free Prescriptions, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Generic drugs save people hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year, but did you know you could be paying absolutely nothing out of pocket, and your employer’s cost could be significantly reduced – both at the same time.

By now you’re familiar with Medtipster.com. We encourage generic drug purchasing over brand name drugs because they are just as effective, and cost less. You also know where to find your generic prescription at the lowest cost, right in your neighborhood.

If you have insurance, the cost of a generic for you could be a $15 co-pay, and your employer eats up the remainder of the cost, which is an average of $17.00. If you’ve found your generic on a $4 generic program by using Medtipster.com, you pay $4, and your employer pays nothing. We know you love Medtipster.com, but now we want your employer to love Medtipster.com too!

Free prescriptions have been our thing lately, in case you haven’t noticed. Thousands of Michigan residents have received free prescriptions since the beginning of December 2009. We are almost ready to take this free prescription giveaway nationwide, but first, we thought of another way to encourage generic drug purchasing, and you don’t have to be a Michigan resident to take advantage of this program. It’s called the Medtipster MVP.

With this program, employers partner with Medtipster.com to essentially give their employees free prescription cards, redeemable at pharmacies that employees themselves locate on Medtipster.com. The idea is to encourage generic drug purchasing over brand name drugs, and to reduce current and future healthcare costs to the employer.

It works like this example:

Sandy takes Zocor.

Sandy works for ABC123 Inc. and they have partnered with Medtipster.com.

ABC123 informs Sandy that her prescription is available for free if she logs on to the company website portal.

Sandy locates her generic equivalent at her neighborhood pharmacy, then prints out her custom ID card from the company’s privately labeled Medtipster.com site.

Sandy takes her ID card to this participating pharmacy and receives her prescription for Zocor generic equivalent for free.

Because the participating pharmacy has Zocor on a $4 generic program, Medtipster sends ABC123 an invoice for $4, plus a small administration fee.

Looking back at the example in the second paragraph above, this saves the employer an average of $17 per employee’s generic prescription. If you work for a company that employees 1,000 people, and half of those employees take a monthly generic prescription, they spend on average $102,000 each year covering “remaining” costs of their employees’ prescriptions. With the Medtipster MVP, the same company would spend an average of just $24,000 each year, for the SAME generic prescriptions! That’s $78,000 A YEAR!

$78,000 A YEAR.

I like to repeat myself when it sounds that good.

If you would like to see your employer save this kind of money every year, and get free prescriptions, let us know what you think. Let us know who we should talk to at your company about implementing this program. Let’s save some money, and change the way we think about prescription plans.

Through the “FREE Everyday Prescription Giveaway,” Medtipster will process free generics for Michigan residents at pharmacies including Kroger, Target, Spartan Stores and Walmart.

December 01, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, Medtipster

Medtipster's FREE Every Day Giveaway

Medtipster's FREE Every Day Giveaway

Today Medtipster, the company behind the online healthcare search engine and price comparator Medtipster.com, announced the launch of a new program to create awareness of a safe and effective way to reduce consumers’ healthcare costs in the face of today’s difficult economy.

Through Medtipster’s “FREE Everyday Prescription Giveaway,” Michigan residents can visit www.medtipster.com throughout December to register for a chance to win a free qualifying generic prescription on a discount list from a participating pharmacy. No purchase is necessary to register. Network pharmacies on medtipster.com include Kroger, Target, Spartan Stores, and Walmart, among others. Hundreds of winners will be selected at random during the 31-day promotion, ending December 31, 2009. Winners will select from thousands of qualifying generic medications listed on www.medtipster.com and receive up to a three-month supply for free at participating pharmacies.

“Switching to generic prescriptions on discount lists is a great way for consumers to save money on their rising healthcare costs, without compromising their quality of care,” said Jason A. Klein, President of Medtipster. “Our ‘FREE Everyday’ promotion will bring awareness to this, and to the fact that consumers can save everyday by using Medtipster.com to find where they can locate generic equivalents of their medications on discount pricing programs by zip code, right in their neighborhoods. We are not an e-commerce site – instead we help consumers find where they can purchase their prescription medications and find seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations at the lowest price, right in their neighborhoods.”

Based in Troy, Mich., Medtipster is launching the promotion in Michigan, but will soon expand the promotion nationwide. For more information or to register for a chance to win, visit www.medtipster.com.

About Medtipster

Medtipster (www.medtipster.com) was developed to provide the public with a solution to the rising cost of healthcare. Headquartered in Troy, Mich., Medtipster is the brainchild of five Michigan executives, who combined their collective experience of 100 years in the pharmaceutical industry to provide Americans with substantial savings on their prescription drug and healthcare expenses.

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