Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.
A new study found that less than one-third of patients prescribed PCSK9 inhibitors are able to start treatment due to high out-of-pocket costs, according to Kaiser Health News. Although the new cholesterol drugs are extremely effective, they can cost up to $14,000 per year, which has caused payers to implement pre-approval requirements. The study found that only 47.2% of patients prescribed 2 of the drugs were able to receive pre-approval, while two-thirds of those patients were able to fill the prescription, according to the article.
Massachusetts is seeking to control Medicaid costs by limiting the number of drugs covered by the program, according to Stat. State officials said that they should be able to use cost-containment strategies similar to those used by commercial insurers to ensure that they can provide adequate care for all Medicaid beneficiaries. Due to rising drug costs, officials are concerned that if drug coverage is not limited, they may be forced to cut spending on crucial programs, according to the article. The Medicaid program currently covers all prescription drugs.
A single genetic mutation resulted in the Zika virus becoming a serious problem in pregnant women and resulted in a public health crisis, the Los Angeles Times reported. When Zika was first discovered in 1947, it made humans mildly ill, a far cry from the thousands of microcephaly cases and other birth defects seen in more recent years. Scientists discovered that a mutation in May 2013 resulted in more pronounced health effects and disabilities, highlighting the harmful potential of all viruses, according to the study.