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Specialty Drug Trend of 18.4% Dwarfs Traditional Drug Trend of -1.5%

March 11, 2013 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: Drug Channels, 3/6/2013

Express Scripts just released the latest iteration of its long-running Drug Trend Report. This year’s report includes both Express Scripts and legacy-Medco covered lives, so it’s the most comprehensive look at pricing and utilization.

Study findings

  • Specialty drug trend of 18.4% dominated traditional drug trend of -1.5%.
  • Drug trend for traditional drugs fell to a record-low -1.5%, due largely to the growing substitution of less-expensive generic drugs.
    • Utilization increased by 0.6%, but costs decreased by 2.2%.
  • Drug trend for specialty drugs was 18.4%, consistent with its high growth rate over the past six years.
    • Utilization decreased by 0.4%, while costs increased by 18.7%.
  • Specialty spending is concentrated in a few conditions. For traditional drugs, treatments for the top three conditions of diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure–accounted for 30% of total per-member, per year (PMPY) spend.
  • For specialty drugs, treatments for the top three conditions–inflammatory conditions, multiple sclerosis, and cancer–accounted for 58% of total PMPY spend.
  • Trend reflects two primary components
    • Change in Utilization (the total quantity of drugs obtained by plan members)–Utilization varies with changes in the number of plan members on drug therapy, the degree to which plan members are adherent to their drug therapy, and a change in the average number of days of treatment.
    • Change in Unit Costs–Unit costs vary with:
      • 1) the rate of inflation in brand-name drugs prices,
      • 2) shifts to different drug options within a therapeutic class,
      • 3) a shift in mix of therapeutic classes utilized by plan members, or
      • 4) the substitution of generic drugs for brand-name drugs.

 

Majority of Painkiller Abuse Starts with Friends and Family

May 07, 2012 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source:  Office of National Drug Control Policy, via The White House, 4/25/2012, White House Study Release

People who abuse painkillers get their start with pills they received (or took) from friends or relatives according to a study published by Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The ONDCP findings from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s NSDUH covered the periods 2009 and 2010. The study focused on the growing problem of addiction to prescription opiod (narcotic) drugs. These pills include oxycodone, hydrocodone and others.

Study findings

  • 71% of persons used pain relievers in some fashion from friends and family:
    • 55% of persons who used pain relievers non-medically obtained the pain relievers from a friend or relative for free
    • 11% bought them from a friend or relative, and
    • 5% got them from a friend or relative without asking
  • The more frequently prescription pain relievers are used, the more likely these pain relievers were obtained from doctors or purchased, rather than by getting them for free.
  • 17% were prescribed by one or more doctors, and
  • 9% were purchased from a friend, dealer, or the Internet.

The pattern was different for long-term abusers.

  • 41% got pills through friends or relatives, and
  • 26% through doctors.
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