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New York's Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to Continue Generic Medication Promotion to Help Control Costs
Date:7/21/2008

The Blue Plan Experienced a 15 Percent Increase in Prescription Drug Costs in 2007, According to a New Report from HealthLeaders-InterStudy

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will continue to promote generic medication use through pharmacy programs and public education efforts. According to the new report entitled Blue Profiler: New York--Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, in 2007 the Blue Plan saw prescription drug costs increase 15 percent, with federal employee prescription costs tripling from 2006 to 2007. To curb these rising prescription costs, Excellus has utilized proprietary research along with public relations campaigns to highlight the cost savings of generic medication use over brand name drugs.

"Generic medication promotion will certainly help Excellus manage its pharmacy spend moving forward," stated Chris Lewis, market analyst at HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report. "Excellus has used research and health trend tracking across its region as one way to differentiate itself from its competitors. In fact, results from an Excellus-initiated study demonstrated that switching to generic medications saved Upstate New Yorkers $227 million in 2007."

The report finds that generic medication use is encouraged through the Blue Plan's Generic Trial program, which provides patients with a free 30-day supply of medication when the prescription is first filled. Additionally, the Generic Advantage program requires a member choosing a brand name over the generic equivalent to pay the generic copay, plus the difference between the pharmacy's charge for the brand drug and its price for the generic.

Lewis continued, "Excellus' public education and pharmacy programs have helped generate a 60 percent generic fill rate across Upstate New York, up from 53 percent in 2005."

Blue Profiler: New York
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SOURCE HealthLeaders-InterStudy
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