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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

‘Dispense as written’ prescriptions may add $7.7 billion to annual health care costs in U.S.

‘Dispense as written’ prescriptions may add $7.7 billion to annual health care costs in U.S.

From the March 25 2011 Science Daily news item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2011) — Approximately five percent of prescriptions submitted by CVS Caremark Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) members in a 30-day period during 2009 included a “dispense as written” (DAW) designation. This practice — whereby doctors or patients demand the dispensing of a specific brand-name drug and not a generic alternative — costs the health care system up to $7.7 billion annually, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and CVS Caremark. Moreover, these requests reduce the likelihood that patients actually fill new prescriptions for essential chronic conditions.

In a study published this week in the American Journal of Medicine,*** the researchers demonstrate that DAW designations for prescriptions have important implications for medication adherence. They found that when starting new essential therapy, chronically ill patients with DAW prescriptions were 50 to 60 percent less likely to actually fill the more expensive brand name prescriptions than generics. “Although dispense as written requests would seem to reflect a conscious decision by patients or their physicians to use a specific agent, the increased cost sharing that results for the patient may decrease the likelihood that patients actually fill their prescriptions,” the researchers said……

***For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

 

March 27, 2011 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , ,

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