Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

This Tuesday's Tidbits focus on prescription drugs.

CVS Caremark recently released its 2011 Insights report on prescription drug trends.  According to the company's press release, "In 2010, the average drug trend for the company's pharmacy benefit management (PBM) client segments -- employers, health plans and third party administrators -- was 2.4 percent, the lowest trend in six years * * *. " Other 2011 Insights findings include
  • Non-specialty trend -- the cost increase for prescriptions excluding expensive biologic pharmaceuticals -- was .8 percent, driven by the increased use of generics. 
  • Specialty pharmaceuticals continued to be the fastest growing area of spending in medications, increasing 13.7 percent from the year before. 
  • About one-quarter of the CVS Caremark clients experienced a reduction in medication costs year-over-year, or a negative trend; one-third of the clients experienced a trend of less than 2.5 percent.
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics released this month a report on the use of medicines in the United States in 2010. The report notes the following trends
Total spending on medicines increased from $300.3Bn in 2009 to $307.4Bn in 2010.
• The decline in the volume of protected branded products reduced spending in 2010 by $8.3Bn compared to 2009.
• Increases in the pricing of protected branded products – without consideration to off-invoice discounts or rebates – raised spending by $16.6Bn.
• Brands losing patent protection or exclusivity in 2010 resulted in a reduction in spending of $12.6Bn.
• Spending growth for new brands was $4.0Bn in 2010.
• Spending on generics – including both volume and price effects – increased by $7.6Bn in 2010 compared to 2009.
Finally, this coming Saturday April 30, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will be holding its second National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. According to the DEA press release, "More than 5,100 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. This is hundreds more sites than were established for the event last fall. The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at these sites will be working together to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs that are potentially dangerous if left in the family’s medicine cabinet. Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the home page, which connects to a database that citizens can search by zip code, city or county." The FEHBlog plans to take advantage of this opportunity.

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