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Specialty drug costs account for more than 50 percent of the total cost of care for rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C patients
Date:4/2/2013

SAN DIEGO, April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to two new studies by Prime Therapeutics (Prime), a leading pharmacy benefit manager, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and hepatitis C (Hep C) specialty drug costs now make up more than half of the total cost of care for patients with these conditions. Prime will present these studies at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)'s 25th Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego.

"As the pipeline of expensive specialty drugs continues to grow, we need to stay alert to cost of care trends to make sure patients and plan sponsors receive the best value and can manage the increasing cost burden these treatments bring," said Patrick Gleason , PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, director of health outcomes at Prime.

The two studies from Prime, in conjunction with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, evaluated RA and Hep C cost of care trends.

In the first study, researchers found that despite the overall decrease in Hep C specialty drug use from 2008 to 2011 (17.2 percent vs. 14.1 percent), the Hep C specialty pharmacy total cost of care compound annual growth rate (CAGR) was 15 percent from 2008 to 2011. Specialty drug costs accounted for 35 percent ($13,332 of $38,055) of the total cost of Hep C care in 2008 and was substantially higher at 52.6 percent in 2011 ($30,415 of $57,799), with a CAGR of 31.8 percent.

In the second study, researchers found that although RA drug use remained steady from 2008 to 2010 (34.6 percent vs. 35.4 percent), the total cost of care CAGR was 7.3 percent from 2008 to 2010. All other medical costs were $11,252 in 2008 and increased to $13,710 in 2010, with a CAGR of 10.4 percent. Combined RA medical and specialty drug c
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SOURCE Prime Therapeutics
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