GENERIC DRUG USAGE SKYROCKETS AMONG PATIENTS OF NC BLUES

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The proportion of generic drugs prescribedfor patients of Blue Cross andBlue Shield of North Carolina increasedsharply as a result of the plan?s new and?more aggressive strategy for pushinggenerics,? researchers at Health-Leaders-InterStudy said.

In an analysis of cost-saving initiativesunderway at the North CarolinaBlues, the researchers credited theplan?s ?free generics? program withboosting the proportion of genericdrugs prescribed, from 37% of all prescriptionsin 2001 to 62% in 2007. Thosesame researchers reported that healthinsurers in Virginia, Maryland, andWashington, DC, are working to reducepharmaceutical costs by employing avariety of strategies, including tieredpricing and the total elimination ofcopays for generic drugs.

According to that analysis, theemphasis on generics was prompted bya significant upsurge in prescriptiondrugcosts over the past few years. Theresearchers found that average weightedpharmacy expenses for Mid-Atlanticplans rose from $26 to $33 per member,per month, from 2004 to 2006.

?Most large commercial insurers sawtheir pharmacy costs increase in theMid-Atlantic anywhere from 8% to14%,? according to HealthLeaders-InterStudy.