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Drug Spend Dollars Wasted


Those who are not prepared will not be successful dealing with the rising cost of healthcare, says Steve B. Miller, senior vice-president and chief medical officer of Express Scripts. He told 'The Future of Canadian Drug Spend' session at CPBI Forum 2013 that Canada is a fairly expensive healthcare country. And, the pharmaceutical spend in Canada is growing faster than the U.S. In fact, if it continues growing at its current pace it could catch up to the U.S. in next 10 years. However, Canada is wasting an enormous amount of healthcare dollars in this area. Patients getting their drugs through retail instead of less expensive channels waste $1.2 billion each year. And the use of more expensive drugs when less expensive generics are available wastes another $3.9 billion. This means 33 per cent of the drug spend dollars are being wasted. In order to reduce these costs, the behaviour of plan members needs to be changed. However, traditional methods of doing so ‒ formulary management, utilization management, and member education ‒ do not work because they don't get people's attention. Instead, methods such as requiring members to opt out of programs such as generic substitution or the use of mail order pharmacies can get results. As well, messages to members need to emphasize the negative when it comes to non-adherence of drug prescription use. Telling them that they will die, instead of feel better, does encourage some to follow their drug regime. This, in turn, helps influence benefit costs by causing successful outcomes.

Courtesy of Benefits and Pensions Monitor website News Alerts

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