Adhering to generic cholesterol-lowering drugs is associated with lower overall costs of care

May 13, 2013

Individuals who regularly take statins to reduce high cholesterol will see lower hospitalization rates according to a study presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 25th Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego, in April.

 

Individuals who regularly take statins to reduce high cholesterol will see lower hospitalization rates according to a study presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 25th Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego, in April.

The study from pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics (Prime) demonstrated that adherence to generic statin therapy results in lower hospitalization rates compared with patients who did not adhere to the generic statin therapy. Despite higher pharmacy costs among adherent patients, the total cost of care was lower for them than for nonadherent patients.

This study differs from previous research, which focused on adherence to brand statin therapy and showed that adherence was associated with lower medical events but with higher total costs, due in part to the higher drug costs of brand-name medications.

“We know adherence to statin therapy can keep patients out of the hospital, but in the past, this also came with a higher cost of care,” said Patrick Gleason, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, director of health outcomes at Prime.

The study compared 2 years of hospitalization rates, medical costs and pharmacy costs among patients who were adherent and nonadherent to generic statins. Working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Prime used pharmacy and medical claims data from a commercially insured population of 1.2 million members. Individuals with a generic statin claim and continuously enrolled from 2007 through 2010 were followed for 2 years beginning in 2008.

The research included nearly 22,000 members, of which 46% were adherent and 54% were not.  The adherent group was associated with a lower hospitalization rate (25% adherent versus 27.6% nonadherent), lower medical costs ($11,353 adherent versus $12,375 nonadherent) and higher pharmacy costs ($4,016 adherent versus $3,079 nonadherent). The result is a lower total cost of care ($15,290 adherent versus $15,451 nonadherent).

“As more statin prescriptions are filled with a generic, we see that generic statins can not only improve the quality of life through fewer hospitalizations, but also can contribute to lower overall healthcare costs,” Dr Gleason said.