The Formulary Files

More patients leaving Rxs at the pharmacy counter

More consumers abandoned new prescriptions at the pharmacy at a rate of 6.3 percent in 2009, which is up by 24 percent since 2008. According to Pharma Insight 2009 by Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions, the abandonment rate for new prescriptions of brand-name drugs alone was 8.6 percent in 2009, up by 23 percent from 2008, and up by an astonishing 68 percent since 2006. A prescription is considered abandoned when it is submitted to a pharmacy, but never picked up.

Dea Belazi, practice leader of managed markets at the company, says a number of factors affect abandonment — copayment is one of them.

“Patients who are new to the therapy are more likely to experience copayment shock,” says Belazi.

What this means for payers, of course, is more costs down the line. “What will that patient’s health status be?” But what happens to all those abandoned prescriptions? Belazi says the pharmacy contacts the health plan and arranges for a reverse transaction, basically a bookkeeping exercise at the end of the day.

More patients abandoning new Rxs

Source: Wolters Kluwer. Pharma Insight 2009. March 2009

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