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Mail Service and Higher Generic Use Helps Keep Spending in Check, Countering Brand Drug Price Inflation and Specialty Medication Growth
Date:5/13/2009

ts likely continued their therapy with the non-prescription formulations. Over-the-counter (OTC) availability of Zyrtec suppressed allergy drug demand by 30 percent; the OTC version of the laxative Miralax lowered prescription gastrointestinal drug use in that category by more than 9 percent. Without OTC availability of these medications, overall prescription drug utilization would have been flat compared with 2007.

Drug Trend Drivers

The 2009 Medco Drug Trend Report noted the following significant factors that affected drug trend:

  • Rheumatological drugs jumped 17.2 percent due to a near 10 percent rise in utilization and higher unit costs from specialty drugs
  • Spending on seizure drugs surged 13.9 percent from broadened indications to treat bipolar depression, neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia
  • Higher-cost cancer drugs helped push spending growth 11.8 percent higher, despite only a marginal increase in utilization
  • Among drug categories seeing lower drug trend, the report listed lipid lowering drugs, allergy treatments and specialty drugs used to treat anemia

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc (NYSE: MHS) is a leading health care company, serving the needs of more than 60 million people. Medco, the world's most advanced pharmacy(R), provides clinically driven pharmacy services designed to improve the quality of care and lower total health care costs for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes, and for individuals served by Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. Through its unique Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R) and the Accredo Health Group, Medco's Specialty Pharmacy, the company is cre
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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