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Prime Therapeutics Drug Trend Insights Reports One of the Lowest Drug Spending Increases in the Industry
Date:8/24/2011

d an average of 12 prescriptions per year. For "focus drugs" used to treat the most common ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes, drug use rose even faster, at 2.6 percent. While this change could indicate some degree of over prescription, it likely reflects the positive increase in medication adherence, suggesting more people are taking their medicine consistently.
  • The rate of generic drug use continued its annual rise, by December 2010 reaching 70.9 percent of all prescribed drugs taken by Prime members — and exceeding 80 percent in many groups. Every 1 percent increase in the generic rate has the potential to deliver savings of 2 percent or more. Prime was able to increase its generic fill rate through benefit structures focused on making generics the most attractive option and member service that makes it as easy as possible for patients to move to a generic.
  • Net ingredient costs per prescription for Prime's Medicare Part D members were nearly $20 less than in the commercial business, as a result of a highly structured, generics-centric formulary that focused on using the lowest-cost drugs. Strong incentives pushed the Medicare generic rate to 77.7 percent, up three points from the year before. As a result pharmacy spending per member per month for the Medicare program rose only 1.8 percent in 2010.
  • Among disease categories, diabetes was the strongest trend driver, with both use and unit costs rising, adding 45 cents per member per month to costs. Second was arthritis and skin, adding 38 cents.
  • The greatest areas of cost reduction included growth in use of generic gastrointestinal medications, which cut 43 cents per member per month in spending. Reduced prices, utilization and increased use of generic seizure drugs cut 28 cents and lower costs for pain drugs cut 20 cents from per member per month costs.
  • The fastest-rising costs were for oral drugs to treat cancer (up 18.7 percent), multiple sclerosis (
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  • SOURCE Prime Therapeutics
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