Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tip of the Day: Revisit whether step therapy truly reduces Rx costs

First care coordination is debunked, and now this? A new study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Managed Care rips another page from the cost-containment playbook and turns it into confetti, concluding that step therapy -- which substitutes "Mercedes" brand-name prescription medicines for less expensive "Saturn" generics -- may actually increase health care costs.

The study, which was narrowed to medications to treat hypertension, found step therapy participants posted $99 more in quarterly health care expenditures and had more inpatient admissions and emergency room visits.

Lead study author Tami L. Mark told Business Insurance a key factor is making sure employers inform providers about step therapy programs.

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