RISING MEDICAID COSTS PEGGED TO ANTIDEPRESSANT Rxs

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

A sharp increase in prescriptions forpricey antidepressant drugs is driving upthe cost of the Medicaid drug program atan alarming rate, said researchers at theAgency for Healthcare Research andQuality.

In the 5 years from 1997 to 2002, thecost of Medicaid drugs more than doubledfrom $11.6 billion to $23.7 billion.Overall spending on Medicaid outpatientdrugs increased by 20% a year, theresearchers reported. A key factor in thatincrease is that the number of Medicaidbeneficiaries taking antidepressantsclimbed by 50% during the course of the5-year study, while spending for thesemedications shot up by 130%.

The investigators also found thatincreasing rates of prescribing forcyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, protonpump inhibitors, and cholesterol-loweringmedications are driving up Medicaidcosts.