Eye care providers prescribe most brand-name medications
Eye care providers prescribe more brand-name drugs than other health care specialists, according to Medicare Part D data.
In a retrospective cross-sectional study quantifying eye care medication costs by researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, ophthalmologists were found to file 71% of their claims and optometrists filed 67% of their claims for brand-name drugs, together prescribing more than $2.4 billion in brand-name drugs in 2013.
Glaucoma medications accounted for the most prescriptions for any single category of ophthalmic drugs, accounting for 54%, or $1.2 billion, of the total and 72% of the total volume.
A switch to generic drugs for brand medications when available would save $148 million, the researchers said. Further savings potential of $882 million could be realized with a switch to a combination of generic drugs and therapeutic substitutions, according to the study.
However, the biggest savings, a 53% reduction in expenditures, could be seen if “Medicare negotiated ophthalmic drug prices similar to those negotiated by the federal government on behalf of the [United States Veterans Administration],” the authors wrote, decreasing total cost from $2.06 billion to $968 million, and saving $1.09 billion. – by Robert Linnehan
Disclosures: Newman-Casey reports she is a consultant for Blue Health Intelligence. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.