Medco 2009 Drug Trend Report Part 2

(Continued) Here are my highlights from Medco Health’s 2009 Drug Trend Report:

  • They continue to be very aggressive about discussing David Snow’s blueprint for healthcare reform.
  • They also seem to be very focused on personalized medicine with several documents out there discussing it.  They mention it here along with GINA.
  • They also talk about Prevacid potentially making the Rx-to-OTC switch which we know has recently been approved.

Half of all Americans are under treatment for at least one chronic disease.  For patients initially diagnosed with chronic or complex conditions, drugs are the first choice for medical intervention 88% (131 out of 149) of the time. Care of patients with chronic and complex diseases accounts for 75% of medical costs and 96% of total drug spending in the U.S.  However, about half of all patients abandon their prescribed therapy in the first year of treatment. Indirect costs linked to absenteeism, short- and long-term disability, and presenteeism (i.e., present at work but less than fully productive) can exceed associated direct healthcare costs by two to three times—making even more critical the rigorous management of these patients and tighter adherence to ongoing care.


Major contributors to these numbers include the epidemic of obesity, the persistence of tobacco and substance abuse, and physical inactivity. As the average age of our population rises, without a paradigm shift that changes the status quo, it is expected that the number of individuals with chronic disease will similarly increase (see figure below). – for original sources go to page 85 in the document)

Medco Chronic Disease Growth

  • I was a little surprised that it wasn’t until page 97 that they showed results from the Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers (TRCs).

Medco TRC Outcomes

Alright, after a few crashes of the blog entry, that wraps it up…one more drug trend report to go.

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