NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 8, 2007

A combination of four measures helped one U.S. hospital's health plan control prescription drug costs and save more than $6.6 million over three years, according to a study by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

The measures used by the Medical Center's health plan included:

  • Reclassifying select brand-name drugs to non-preferred status (which resulted in about half of the annual savings).
  • The removal of non-sedating antihistamines from the prescription drug formulary.
  • The introduction of pill-splitting and limiting quantities of select medications not intended for daily use.

"One reason for this success may be that the plan was careful to avoid shifting costs to its members," says lead author Dr. David P. Miller, assistant professor, Section of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

"The study demonstrated that much of what we spend on prescription drugs is wasteful, and that other institutions, hospitals, health plans, state and federal governments can learn from our experience," says co-author Dr. Curt D. Furberg, professor of public health sciences.

Source: "Simple Steps Can Save Health Plans Big Dollars: Study," Forbes, August 7, 2007.


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