BenefitNews.com, July 29, 2004
Therapy Patterns Result in PBMs Dispensing
Some in the community pharmacy industry have
accused pharmacy benefit managers of cheating employers out of
potential cost-savings because they dispense generic drugs less
frequently than retail pharmacies do. But a new analysis suggests
the discrepancy has little to do with PBMs' interest in getting
rebates from pharmaceutical manufacturers for selling brand- name
The overall generic-dispensing rate for PBM
mail-order pharmacies is nearly 39%, while that of retail pharmacies
is closer to 49%, researchers at Harvard Business School found.
But the incongruity is almost entirely explained
by differences in therapies pursued in the retail versus the
mail-order market. Consumers are more likely to use mail-order to
purchase ongoing medications for chronic conditions such as high
cholesterol, but they turn to their neighborhood pharmacy to treat
acute conditions such as food poisoning.
"Many therapeutic categories for chronic
conditions are relatively new and, as a result, do not face generic
competition. At the same time, many acute conditions are treated
with older drugs that solely because of their age have more generic
competitors and, in turn, higher generic-dispensing rates," Marta
Wosinska and Robert Huckman write in the study, published on the
Health Affairs Web site.
Copyright © 2004, Thomson Media.
© 2004 Prescription Solutions.
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