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Drug Prices Up 3.5% For 2012

December 04, 2012 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: www.express-scripts.com, 11.28.12

According to the Express Scripts Prescription Price Index, prices on a market basket of the most highly utilized brand-name medications increased 13.3 percent from September 2011 to September 2012, far outpacing the overall economic inflation level of 2.0 percent. During the same timeframe, prices of generic medications declined 21.9 percent. This 35.2 percentage point net inflationary effect is the largest widening of brand and generic prices since Express Scripts began calculating its Prescription Price Index in 2008.

“The patent cliff has fueled a growing price disparity between brand-name and generic medications,” said Steve Miller, M.D., chief medical officer at Express Scripts. “The trend emphasizes the nation’s continued need for the tools we employ to help patients make better decisions, including generic use when appropriate.”

Drivers of Traditional Drug Trend

During the first three quarters of 2012, spending on traditional medications decreased 0.6 percent over the same period in 2011, primarily driven by lower prices brought on by increased use of generic medications.

The top traditional therapy class is mental and neurological disorders (including antidepressants), which now consumes 24.7 percent of all traditional drug spend. Although use of these medications has increased 3.1 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2011, total spending in this class is down 1.9 percent due to newly available generic antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Total spending on medications to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol decreased 7.7 percent, primarily driven by the continued impact of patent expirations for blockbuster drugs.

Drivers of Specialty Drug Trend

Specialty drug trend continues its year-over-year double-digit growth. During the first three quarters of 2012, spending on specialty medications increased 22.6 percent over the same period in 2011, primarily driven by unit cost increases. In the first nine months of 2012, specialty drug costs consumed 20.8 percent of total pharmacy spend.

“The continued rise in spend on specialty medications underscores the nation’s need to accelerate the pathway for biosimilars,” Dr. Miller said. “Additional competition within these therapy classes would provide a necessary market control against price inflation.”

The three therapy classes representing the largest amount of specialty drug spend continue to be rheumatoid arthritis/autoimmune conditions, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Medications commonly used to treat hepatitis C continue to have the largest specialty spend increase, 117.3 percent over the same period in 2011. Increased utilization is driving this trend, as new patients begin and continue treatment with one of two new medications.

Eight of the nine notable new medications approved in the third quarter are specialty medications. Many of these medications are second-line and third-line drugs indicated to treat advanced cancers.

Spotlight on Obesity Medications

The report reviews the two new anti-obesity medications approved this summer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In clinical trials, many patients taking either of the new medications lost at least 5 percent of their body weight.

“The potential benefits of these new anti-obesity medications need to be compared against their risks and cost,” Dr. Miller said. “We are cautiously optimistic about the possibilities of these and other drugs like them, provided that they are prescribed appropriately and integrated with other lifestyle modifying programs that help patients make healthier choices that maintain their weight over time.”

Just say YES to (cheaper) drugs!

December 18, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: Medtipster, Prescription Savings

MedtipsterAmericans utilizing prescriptions could each save thousands of dollars if the senate would allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and Europe. Sounds great, so, yeah, when can we benefit from that?

Well, not today. Drugmakers win this battle. The possible influx of cheaper medicines is part of a large health care legislation, and the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 in opposition of this movement to loosen importation rules. But the war on prescription drugs isn’t over, and companies like Medtipster are accomplices to win the war.

What does this mean for us, the Americans, who feel the sting when we go to the pharmacy? It means we absolutely need to choose generic drugs over brand names. Generic drugs are the answer.

The issue is that many people do not know that their prescription may be available for even less than what they pay now, that being either their copay or $32.00, which is the average price of a generic drug. More importantly, where do they go to get that prescription on a generic program? Which pharmacy has that generic drug for just $4, or even less?

Medtipser.com has the answer to those questions.

Generic drug programs are available at most pharmacies, and most of their pharmacy websites have an available database or a download-able PDF of their generic drug lists. Medtipster understands what a hassle that can be for consumers, and created the database all in one location, www.medtipster.com. Pharmacy location, phone number, prescription price, even membership information at requiring pharmacies.

If you have trouble affording your medication, please contact us. We are here to help any way we can!

Resource, Bloomberg.com

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Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
www.medtipster.com

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