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Drug Benefit Trends

Drug Benefit Trends

More than half of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with a biologic discontinued treatment, and another 12% switched to at least 1 other biologic within a 2-year treatment period, according to a study led by Chureen Carter, PharmD, of Centocor Ortho Biotech Services.

A study of Humana members enrolled in commercial and Medicare Advantage plans showed that patients with fibromyalgia have higher health care utilization and costs than those without the disease.1 This is because of higher use of office visits, testing, and procedures as well as pain-related medications.

Managed care pharmacists will play a key role in reforming the current health care system by continuing to develop innovative programs that reduce costs and improve quality of care, said Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He discussed the effects of the recent health care reform legislation in a presentation at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy meeting.

Electronic prescribing resulted in greater generic and formulary drug use, according to Crystal Chang, PharmD, and colleagues at Blue Shield of California, San Francisco. It also led to an average cost savings of 17.3% for both the member and the payer.

Women are more likely to look for health information online, according to results of the 2009 National Health Interview Survey.1 Of all those who responded, 45.6% said they had looked up health information on the Internet within the past year. Those aged 25 to 34 years were most likely to seek information online, and those 65 and older were least likely.

The treatment of patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and their various complications has become one of the most discussed and demanded insurance coverage mandates in multiple states. Insurance mandates are being heavily pushed by advocacy groups, especially Autism Speaks, with good success.

On March 2, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services secretary released a notice of proposed rulemaking for establishing a certification program for electronic health records (EHRs).1


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