Ivermectin for COVID Costs Insurers Millions Despite Lack of Clinical Evidence

Insurers have paid millions of dollars to cover the cost of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment even though there is no evidence that it’s actually effective against the disease, according to a new JAMA study. By analyzing claims from December 2020 through March 2021, the researchers found that patients with private insurance spent, on average, $22.48 per ivermectin prescription with insurers reimbursing an average of $35.75, for a total cost of $58.23. Patients with Medicare Advantage spent an average of $13.78, while their health plans reimbursed $39.13, for a total average cost of $52.91 per script. The study also estimated that health plans paid $2.5 million for COVID-related ivermectin prescriptions just in the week of Aug. 13, 2021; extrapolating that over the course of a year, such spending could add up to $129.7 million.

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Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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