Employers: Long-Term Pharmacy Cost Control Requires Worker Involvement

According to a survey released by Buck Consultants, a human resources and benefits consulting firm, employers plan to significantly involve their workers in long-term strategies to control prescription drug costs. The firm conducted its study, "Understanding Your Strategies for Coping with the Changing Pharmacy Benefit Landscape," in the first quarter of 2008.

The goal of the survey was to identify strategies employers are using to manage their prescription drug benefits and costs. Fifty-one percent of respondents use employee cost sharing as a utilization management tool. The most common cost-sharing range is 21 percent to 30 percent (used by 44 percent of respondents). According to the survey respondents, the most important clinical management steps they are taking to control pharmacy benefit costs are disease management, care management, and smoking cessation programs. Others include providing employees with tools and information, providing employee education, and worksite wellness and health activities.

Fifty-two percent of survey respondents believed that specialty medications--complex drugs that are often injected or infused--represent 10 percent or less of their total pharmacy costs.

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