Can restrictions on reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs decrease Medicaid pharmacy costs without increasing hospitalizations?
OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a policy restricting reimbursement for Medicaid anti-ulcer drugs on anti-ulcer drug use and peptic-related hospitalizations. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: In addition to U.S. Census Bureau data, all of the following from Florida: Medicaid anti-ulcer drug claims data, 1989-1993; Medicaid eligibility data, 1989-1993; and acute care nonfederal hospital discharge abstract data (Medicaid and non-Medicaid), 1989-1993. STUDY DESIGN: In this observational study, a Poisson multiple regression model was used to compare changes, after policy implementation, in Medicaid reimbursement for prescription anti-ulcer drugs as well as hospitalization rates between pre- and post-implementation periods in Medicaid versus non-Medicaid patients hospitalized with peptic ulcer disease. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Following policy implementation, the rate of Medicaid reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs decreased 33 percent (p < .001). No associated increase occurred in the rate of Medicaid peptic-related hospitalizations. CONCLUSIONS: Florida's policy restricting Medicaid reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs was associated with a substantial reduction in outpatient anti-ulcer drug utilization without any significant increase in the rate of hospitalization for peptic-related conditions. (+info)
Reduced kidney transplant rejection rate and pharmacoeconomic advantage of mycophenolate mofetil.
BACKGROUND: Several multinational controlled clinical trials have shown that triple therapy immunosuppressive regimens which include mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), cyclosporin A (CSA) and steroids (S) are superior compared with conventional regimens which include azathioprine (AZA), CSA and S, mainly because MMF reduces the rate of acute rejection episodes in the first 6 months after kidney transplantation. Post-marketing studies are useful to evaluate the general applicability and costs of MMF-based immunosuppressive regimens. METHODS: Based on the excellent results of the published controlled clinical trials, we have changed the standard triple therapy immunosuppressive protocol (AZA+CSA+S) to an MMF-based regimen (MMF+CSA+S) at our centre. To analyse the impact of this change in regimen, we have monitored 6-month patient and graft survival, rejection rate, serum creatinine and CSA levels, as well as the costs of the immunosuppressive and anti-rejection treatments, in 40 consecutive renal transplant recipients (MMF group) and have compared the data with 40 consecutive patients transplanted immediately prior to the change in regimen (AZA group). RESULTS: Recipient and donor characteristics were similar in the AZA and MMF groups. Patient survival (37/40; 92.5% in the AZA group vs 38/40; 95% in the MMF group), graft survival (36/40 vs 36/40; both 90%) and serum creatinine (137+/-56 vs 139+/-44 micromol/l) after 6 months were not significantly different. However, the rate of acute rejection episodes (defined as a rise in creatinine without other obvious cause and treated at least with pulse steroids) was significantly reduced with MMF from 60 to 20% (P=0.0005). The resulting cost for rejection treatment was lowered 8-fold (from sFr. 2113 to 259 averaged per patient) and the number of transplant biopsies was lowered > 3-fold in the MMF group. The cost for the immunosuppressive therapy was increased 1.5-fold with MMF (from sFr. 5906 to 9231 per patient for the first 6 months). CONCLUSIONS: The change from AZA to MMF resulted in a significant reduction in early rejection episodes, resulting in fewer diagnostic procedures and rehospitalizations. The optimal long-term regimen in terms of patient and pharmacoeconomic benefits remains to be defined. (+info)
The cost effectiveness of strategies for the treatment of intestinal parasites in immigrants.
BACKGROUND: Currently, more than 600,000 immigrants enter the United States each year from countries where intestinal parasites are endemic. At entry persons with parasitic infections may be asymptomatic, and stool examinations are not a sensitive method of screening for parasitosis. Albendazole is a new, broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug, which was approved recently by the Food and Drug Administration. International trials have shown albendazole to be safe and effective in eradicating many parasites. In the United States there is now disagreement about whether to screen all immigrants for parasites, treat all immigrants presumptively, or do nothing unless they have symptoms. METHODS: We compared the costs and benefits of no preventive intervention (watchful waiting) with those of universal screening or presumptive treatment with 400 mg of albendazole per day for five days. Those at risk were defined as immigrants to the United States from Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Cost effectiveness was expressed both in terms of the cost of treatment per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) averted (one DALY is defined as the loss of one year of healthy life to disease) and in terms of the cost per hospitalization averted. RESULTS: As compared with watchful waiting, presumptive treatment of all immigrants at risk for parasitosis would avert at least 870 DALYs, prevent at least 33 deaths and 374 hospitalizations, and save at least $4.2 million per year. As compared with watchful waiting, screening would cost $159,236 per DALY averted. CONCLUSIONS: Presumptive administration of albendazole to all immigrants at risk for parasitosis would save lives and money. Universal screening, with treatment of persons with positive stool examinations, would save lives but is less cost effective than presumptive treatment. (+info)
Financial incentives and drug spending in managed care.
This study estimates the impact of patient financial incentives on the use and cost of prescription drugs in the context of differing physician payment mechanisms. A large data set was developed that covers persons in managed care who pay varying levels of cost sharing and whose physicians are compensated under two different models: independent practice association (IPA)-model and network-model health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Our results indicate that higher patient copayments for prescription drugs are associated with lower drug spending in IPA models (in which physicians are not at risk for drug costs) but have little effect in network models (in which physicians bear financial risk for all prescribing behavior). (+info)
Who bears the burden of Medicaid drug copayment policies?
This DataWatch examines the impact of Medicaid prescription drug copayment policies in thirty-eight states using survey data from the 1992 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. Findings indicate that elderly and disabled Medicaid recipients who reside in states with copay provisions have significantly lower rates of drug use than their counterparts in states without copayments. After controlling for other factors, we find that the primary effect of copayments is to reduce the likelihood that Medicaid recipients fill any prescription during the year. This burden falls disproportionately on recipients in poor health. (+info)
Problems with implementing guidelines: a randomised controlled trial of consensus management of dyspepsia.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility and benefit of developing guidelines for managing dyspepsia by consensus between general practitioners (GPs) and specialists and to evaluate their introduction on GPs' prescribing, use of investigations, and referrals. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial of effect of consensus guidelines agreed between GPs and specialists on GPs' behaviour. SETTING: Southampton and South West Hampshire Health District, United Kingdom. SUBJECTS: 179 GPs working in 45 practices in Southampton district out of 254 eligible GPs, 107 in the control group and 78 in the study group. MAIN MEASURES: Rates of referral and investigation and costs of prescribing for dyspepsia in the six months before and after introduction of the guidelines. RESULTS: Consensus guidelines were produced relatively easily. After their introduction referral rates for upper gastrointestinal symptoms fell significantly in both study and control groups, but no significant change occurred in either group in the use of endoscopy or radiology, either in terms of referral rates, patient selection, or findings on investigation. No difference was observed between the control and study group in the number of items prescribed, but prescribing costs rose by 25% (from 2634 pounds to 3215 pounds per GP) in the study group, almost entirely due to an increased rate of prescription of ulcer-healing agents. CONCLUSION: Developing district guidelines for managing dyspepsia by consensus between GPs and specialists was feasible. However, their acceptance and adoption was variable and their measured effects on some aspects of clinical behaviour were relatively weak and not necessarily associated with either decreased costs or improved quality of care. (+info)
Impact of an interest in asthma on prescribing costs in general practice.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect on total prescribing costs and prescribing costs for respiratory drugs for practices with at least one general practitioner with a special interest in asthma. DESIGN: Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING: General practitioners in England and Wales. SUBJECTS: 269 members of the General Practitioners in Asthma Group, of whom 103 agreed to participate. MAIN MEASURES: Individual practitioners' and their practices' PACT prescribing costs from the winter quarters of 1989-90 compared with average costs for their family health services authority (FHSA) and a notional national average of all FHSAs combined. RESULTS: The response rate was 57%; the average total prescribing costs for the practices of the 59 respondents were significantly lower than those of their respective FHSAs (mean difference 505 pounds per 1000 patients per quarter (95% confidence interval -934.0 to -76.2, p = 0.022) and lower than the national average. The average prescribing costs for respiratory drugs for the practices were significantly greater than those for their FHSA (195 pounds per 1000 patients per quarter (84.4 to 306.0, p = 0.001) and the national average. Both types of costs varied widely. CONCLUSION: An interest in asthma care in general practice is associated with higher average prescribing costs for respiratory drugs but no increase in overall prescribing costs compared with those for respective FHSAs and national averages. IMPLICATIONS: FHSAs and their medical advisors should not examine high prescribing costs for individual doctors or one therapeutic category but in the context of practice total costs. (+info)
Potential savings from generic prescribing and generic substitution in South Africa.
Generic prescribing and generic substitution are mechanisms for reducing the cost of drugs. The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which generic prescribing by private medical practitioners and generic substitution by private pharmacists is practised in South Africa and to estimate the potential savings from these two practices. Prescriptions from 10 pharmacists were collected on four randomly selected days. Computer printouts of all the prescriptions dispensed on these four days together with the original doctor's prescription were priced using a commercially available pharmacy dispensing computer package. A total of 1570 prescriptions with a total number of 4086 items were reviewed. Of the total prescriptions, 45.7% had at least one item for which there was a generic equivalent. Of the 961 drugs which had generic equivalents, 202 (21 %) were prescribed using the generic name of the drug. Only 0.3% of prescribers prohibited generic substitution. The cost of the prescription as dispensed was 1.4% (mean cost: R116.19 vs R117.84) below that of the original doctor's prescriptions, indicating the marginal benefit from the current low substitution rate of 13.9% by pharmacists. About 6.8% of the cost of the original doctor's prescriptions (mean cost: R117.84) could have been saved if total generic substitution (mean cost: R109.65) was practised. The cost of the prescriptions with only brand name items (mean cost: R120.49) would have been 9.9% higher than if generic drugs were used. Current restrictive prescribing and dispensing practices result in marginal cost savings from generic prescribing and generic substitution. Both these practices have a potential to reduce drug costs, if actively encouraged and practised to maximum capacity. It is noteworthy, however, that the potential savings from generic prescribing and substitution are at most 9.9% in the absence of any changes in types of drugs prescribed. (+info)