iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Majority of Physicians Accepted Pharma Payments in 2014

I was under the impression that this practice had ceased??

ProPublica recently conducted an analysis on the relationship between physician prescribing practices and money received from pharmaceutical companies in 2014. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • Nearly 90% of cardiologists received payments from a drug or device company in 2014.
  • 7 in 10 internists and family practitioners received payments from a drug or device company in 2014.
  • Nationally, about 3 in 4 doctors across five common specialties received at least one payment in 2014.
  • Nevada has the highest proportion (90.3%) of doctors who received payments in 2014.
  • Internists who received no payments had an average brand-name prescribing rate of about 20%.
  • Internists who received more than $5,000/year prescribed brand-name drugs 30% of the time.

Source: NPR, March 17, 2016

Prescription Drug Prices Increased by 9.4% in 2013

AARP recently released a study on the pricing trends of 622 widely used prescription drugs. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • In 2013, the average cost of a drug was more than $11,000 per drug per year.
  • This cost is more than twice the average annual cost ($5,571) in 2006.
  • Retail prices for widely used prescription drugs increased by 9.4% in 2013.
  • The price increase was more than six times higher than the inflation rate of 1.5%.
  • Brand name and specialty drugs experienced price increases of 12.9% and 10.6%.
  • Generic drug prices decreased 4.0% in 2013.

Source: AARP, February 2016

March 8, 2016 | Categories: Cost,drugs,healthcare | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

76% favor limiting the amount drug companies can charge for high-cost drugs

According to a recent survey:

  • 72% of Americans think prescription drug pricees are unreasonable
  • 83% approve of allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices on medications for Medicare beneficiaries
  • 76% favor limiting the amount drug companies can charge for high-cost drugs for illnesses like hepatitis or cancer
  • 51% feel that regulation by the federal government would do a better job at keeping prescription drug costs down than marketplace competition
  • 40% feel that marketplace competition would do a better job at keeping prescription drug costs down than government regulation

Source: “Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: August 2015,” the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, August 20, 2015,

August 25, 2015 | Categories: Benefits,Cost,drugs,healthcare | Tags: , , , , | Comments (0)

The escalating cost of new cancer drugs

More than 100 of the country’s most prominent cancer doctors are calling for a mass mobilization of patients to fight the escalating cost of new cancer drugs, which are routinely topping $100,000 a year.  It is the latest move in a flurry of physician advocacy over the price of these therapies, which has included high-profile efforts to ensure costs are factored into decisions about how to treat patients. Employer groups and insurers, stung by the huge bills, have also joined the fight, as have some consumer advocates.

AHRQ Stats: Statin Use


The number of adults who reported using prescribed statins more than doubled in 10 years, from 17.6 million in 2000–2001 to 40.8 million in 2010–2011. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #458: Trends in Statin Therapy among Adults (Age ≥ 18), United States, 2000 to 2011.)

…and if there were medical services price transparency… what would the public think

Prescription Drug Cost Perceptions

Here are some key findings from the June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll regarding the public’s views on prescription drug costs:

  • Almost three quarters (73%) of the public say prescription drug costs are unreasonable.
  • 76% of those believe costs are unreasonable because pharmaceutical companies set the prices too high.
  • 1 in 10 say that insurance companies are responsible for the costs by requiring people to pay too much.
  • 10% say that both pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies are to blame.
  • Three quarters (76%) say it is easy to afford their medicine, while a fifth say it is difficult.
  • 53% say there is not enough price-limiting regulation vs. 12% who say there is too much regulation.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, June 16, 2015

June 22, 2015 | Categories: Cost,drugs,healthcare,insurance | Tags: , , , , | Comments (0)

We must all do better for patients . . . ultimately for our families and ourselves

According to a recent report:

  • Medication errors affect 3.8 million patients annually
  • In 2014, 59% of hospitals entered at least 75% of all medication orders electronically
  •  In 2013 and again in 2014, 36% of potentially harmful medication orders that were entered electronically did not trigger an appropriate warning
  • 13.9% of potentially fatal medication orders that were entered electronically were not flagged

Source: “Despite Improvement, New Report Reveals Technology to Prevent Medication Errors Fails Too Often,” The Leapfrog Group News Release, April 9, 2015,

What part of your health care budget goes to pharmacy costs?

According to a recent survey, 77% of employers spent 16% or more of their total health care budgets on pharmacy benefits in 2014, up from 71% in 2013. Source: “Majority of Employers Spend 16 Percent or More of Health Care Budget on Pharmacy Benefits: Buck Consultants Survey,” Buck Consultants at Xerox Press Release, February 25, 2015,

Most employers spend 16% or more of their healthcare budget on pharmacy benefits for their employees

Buck Consultants at Xerox recently released the fifth annual “Prescription Drug Benefit Survey”. Here’s what they found:

  • 77% of employers spend 16% or more of their healthcare budget on employee pharmacy benefits.
  • Almost 5% of employers spend more than 30% on pharmacy.
  • A specialty drug costs at least $2,500 per month or $75,000 per year.
  • 22% of respondents do not know the portion of drug spend attributed to specialty medications.
  • Utilization management programs, like prior authorization, are used by 77% of responders.

Source: Buck Consultants, February 25, 2015

Which year is the abberation?

Spending on health care accelerating, report finds An Altarum Institute report found U.S. health care spending is accelerating, with growth of 5% in 2014, up from 3.6% the year before. It’s the largest increase since before the recession. Higher drug prices and an increase in the number of insured Americans are among the factors that could be driving the trend. Bloomberg (2/18)

February 19, 2015 | Categories: Benefits,Cost,drugs,healthcare,insurance | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)
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