Study Spotlights Rising Use, Spending on Asthma Biologics

A recently released study from Prime Therapeutics LLC highlights an eyebrow-raising trend: Over the last two and a half years, the number of the PBM’s commercially insured members with asthma who used biologic medicines nearly doubled, and so did spending on those drugs.

Prime, which is owned by 18 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, examined integrated pharmacy and medical claims from 14 million commercially insured members from January 2017 to June 2019. It found that the number of members with an asthma diagnosis using one of five asthma biologics — Cinqair (reslizumab), Dupixent (dupilumab), Fasenra (benralizumab), Nucala (mepolizumab) and Xolair (omalizumab) — increased by 78%, from 3.3 users per 10,000 members to 5.8 out of 10,000.

© 2024 MMIT
Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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