Cost for Drug Combination That Can Be Purchased Over-The-Counter Soars to Nearly $3,000
This month, pharmaceutical company Horizon Pharma received media attention for yet another price increase on a drug called Vimovo. This is the 11th price hike since Horizon purchased it from AstraZeneca in 2013, bringing its cost from $138 at that time, to an incredible $2,952 for a 30-day supply in February 2018.
Vimovo is simply a combination of two over-the-counter medicines, esomeprazole, sold as the brand drug Nexium, and naproxen, sold under the brand name Aleve. If purchased as a generic, the drugs can cost as little as $54, making the $2,952 price tag for Vimovo completely unjustifiable. EnvisionRx takes this into consideration when determining a formulary and has included this medication on its list of non-essential drugs, so Envision clients will not be impacted by this price hike.
Vimovo isn’t the only drug Horizon has increased exponentially. They also market two-in-one painkiller, Duexis, which is a mixture of ibuprofen, sold under the brand name Advil, and famotidine, an antacid, sold as the brand drug Pepcid. A bottle of 90 tablets is priced at $2,611, while buying the generics individually can cost as little as $12.
While Horizon says members may pay as little as $10 at the pharmacy for the brand drugs, plan sponsors that cover these drugs are still responsible for the remaining cost of these pricey medications. Members fail to realize that higher plan costs may mean increased cost sharing, and thus, health care costs continue to grow.
Formulary Strategy That Saves a Bundle
Both of these drugs from Horizon Pharma are excluded from Envision’s formulary. A formulary that includes these drugs may result in a rebate that looks high, but does not give the payer the actual lowest net cost. Is your PBM looking out for your plan by excluding these costly, non-essential drugs? Our formulary approach and Non-Essential Drug program protect plans by blocking these drugs, and others like them, when there is an acceptable alternative to help combat these pricing tactics.
At EnvisionRx, we strive to be flexible and nimbly respond to new industry challenges. Our solution focuses on an integrated pharmacy care experience that offers protection from unnecessary high cost drugs. Our visibly different approach optimizes pharmacy care to improve plan and patient outcomes, keeping your members, and your bottom line, healthy.