Potential Savings in Medicare Part D for Common Urological Conditions

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Introduction:Millions of patients take prescription medications each year for common urological conditions. Generic and brand-name drugs have widely divergent pricing despite similar therapeutic benefit and side effect profiles. We examined prescribing patterns across provider types for generic and brand-name drugs used to treat 3 common urological conditions, and estimated economic implications for Medicare Part D spending.Methods:We extracted 2014 prescription claims and payments from Medicare Part D and categorized oral medications used to treat 3 urological conditions, namely benign prostatic hyperplasia, erectile dysfunction and overactive bladder. We examined claims and payments for each medication among urologists and nonurologists. Lastly, we estimated potential savings by selecting a low cost or generic drug as a cost comparator for each class.Results:There were significant differences in prescribing patterns across these conditions, with urologists prescribing more brand-name and expensive medications (p <0.001). The total potential savings related to prescriptions of more expensive and nongeneric drugs in 2014 was $1 billion (benign prostatic hyperplasia $348,454,910, erectile dysfunction $10,211,914 and overactive bladder $698,130,833). These potential savings comprised 53% of the total spending for these medications in 2014.Conclusions:Within Medicare Part D the potential savings associated with generic substitution for higher cost and nongeneric drugs for 3 common urological conditions surpassed $1 billion, with urologists more likely to prescribe brand-name and more expensive drugs. Increasing low cost and generic drug use where available evidence of efficacy is equivocal represents a promising policy target to optimize prescription drug spending.

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