Michigan: Drug costs low due to fewer prescriptions, pharmacy prices
The average payment per claim was $261 -- 37 percent lower than the median of the study states. Researchers said the main reasons for the lower prescription costs included lower prices paid to pharmacies for commonly used medications; fewer prescriptions for brand names when generic equivalents or alternatives were available; and fewer prescriptions per claim.
The study -- Prescription Benchmarks for Michigan -- found that the average price per pill paid to pharmacies in Michigan was 15 percent lower than the median of the 16 states. Average prices paid per pill were lower for some medications and typical for other medications.
Researchers found that less frequent prescriptions for brand name drugs to treat injured workers also contributed to the lower average prices paid to pharmacies. The percentage of pharmacy-dispensed prescriptions that were for brand names was 15 percent in Michigan compared to 17 percent in the median state.
The study also found that the utilization of prescription drugs was lower. The average number of pills per claim was 20 percent lower than the median state.
According to the report, one factor that may have raised pharmacy costs was physicians writing prescriptions and dispensing medications directly to the patient. This accounted for 27 percent of all prescriptions. On average, physicians were paid more per pill when they dispensed than pharmacies.
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August 16, 2010
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