Pharmacy Times

GENERIC DRUG USAGE SKYROCKETS AMONG PATIENTS OF NC BLUES


The proportion of generic drugs prescribed for patients of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina increased sharply as a result of the plan?s new and ?more aggressive strategy for pushing generics,? researchers at Health- Leaders-InterStudy said.

In an analysis of cost-saving initiatives underway at the North Carolina Blues, the researchers credited the plan?s ?free generics? program with boosting the proportion of generic drugs prescribed, from 37% of all prescriptions in 2001 to 62% in 2007. Those same researchers reported that health insurers in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, are working to reduce pharmaceutical costs by employing a variety of strategies, including tiered pricing and the total elimination of copays for generic drugs.

According to that analysis, the emphasis on generics was prompted by a significant upsurge in prescriptiondrug costs over the past few years. The researchers found that average weighted pharmacy expenses for Mid-Atlantic plans rose from $26 to $33 per member, per month, from 2004 to 2006.

?Most large commercial insurers saw their pharmacy costs increase in the Mid-Atlantic anywhere from 8% to 14%,? according to HealthLeaders- InterStudy.