Diabetic Health Quote
Private Health Insurance
More spent on diabetes drugs than for cholesterol

Fri, 16 May 2008

When it comes to spending on health it seems the key thing isn’t how many people suffer from a particular disease but the cost of treating each person. This is according to a report from Medco, the prescription drugs benefits manager.

There was an increase in the use of diabetes drugs by 2.3 percent but spending increased by 12 percent. The reason was the introduction of new and expensive drugs replacing or added to old or cheap ones.

The report highlighted patients changing from old insulin to new fast acting ones such as NovoLog from Novo Nordisk and Lantus by Sanofi-Aventi’s.

According to the report, the amount spent on diabetes drugs totalled 7 percent of prescription drug costs for health plans .

Because of safety issues surrounding GlaxoSmithKline’s drug Avandia, more was spent on the Amylin and Lilly drug Byetta and the Merck drug Januvia which offset the drop in spending.

However the amount spent on lipid-lowering drugs like statins were 10.8 percent of the cost. While these costs increase, drugs for cholesterol fell by 8.5 percent in 2007.

Cholesterol drug use grew faster than that for diabetes. However statins produced by Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb went generic in 2006 and sent prices through the floor. But Pfizer’s statin, still under patent dropped as insurers switched patients to use generic statins.

The report was compiled from the amount of prescriptions filled over two years by Medco clients.
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