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J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Aug;22(8):1172-5. Epub 2007 May 15.

Angiotensin receptor blockers on the formularies of Medicare drug plans.

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  • 1Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120-1613, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The presence of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) on the formularies of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) is vitally important to the health of seniors who cannot tolerate angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether ARBs are present on the formularies of PDPs and how the prescription cost-sharing for ARBs under Part D compares to cost-sharing before Part D.

DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS:

Cross-sectional analyses of March 2006 Medicare Part D formularies (n = 1,446) and of ARB utilization and cost-sharing for adults over the age of 64 included in the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

(1) Presence of ARBs on Part D formularies. (2) Average out-of-pocket costs for 30-day supply of ARBs before and after Part D (both in 2006 dollars).

RESULTS:

All PDP formularies included at least 1 ARB. Most plans covered 2 ARBs (41%) and 35% covered all 7. The average monthly copay for the most commonly used ARB, valsartan, is $28 under part D, $14 before Part D for individuals with prescription coverage, and $53 before Part D for individuals without coverage.

CONCLUSIONS:

Whereas ARBs are present on all Part D formularies, many seniors will pay more for these drugs under Part D. Any savings in copayments under Part D may be erased by the monthly premium and by more expensive cost-sharing when seniors reach the 'donut hole'.

PMID:
17503103
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2305745
Free PMC Article
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