Thursday, October 15, 2015

8 Discrepancies in Drug Sales, Prescription Patterns

8 Discrepancies in Drug Sales, Prescription Patterns

Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor
Published Online: Thursday, October 15, 2015

The best-selling brand-name drugs are not necessarily the most-prescribed medications in the United States.

IMS Health recently revealed the 50 most-prescribed brand-name drugs and the 50 best-selling brand-name drugs between April 2014 and March 2015.

Here are some noteworthy discrepancies between prescription drug sales and prescribing patterns for particular conditions:

1. Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C drugs sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) and sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (Harvoni) ranked 3rd and 6th on the list of top 50 brand-name drugs by sales, respectively, while simeprevir (Olysio) ranked 33rd.

Together, the 3 hepatitis C drugs generated more than $14 billion in sales between April 2014 and March 2015, though none of them appeared among the top 50 most-prescribed brand-name drugs.

This is likely due in large part to the fact that the 2 largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in the United States—Express Scripts and CVS Caremark—continue to exclude the specialty drugs amid a high-profile debate over their cost-benefit ratios.

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