Medication prescribing patterns vary widely between, within states and therapy classes

Suggests New Opportunities for Managing Cost, Quality of Pharmacy Benefit

ST. LOUIS, June 29, 1999 -- Where you live plays a big role in how many and which medicines you take according to a study of regional prescription use presented here today by University of Arizona researcher Brenda Motheral, Ph.D., at a national conference of health plans and benefits managers. Conference and study sponsor Express Scripts, Inc. (NASD: ESRX), is the nation's largest independent pharmacy benefit manager.

According to Motheral, some states have consistently higher or lower prescription use than other states, certain therapy classes have greater variability than others and individual states have unique patterns of high and low use within specific therapy classes. Her study is the first publicly reported analysis of regional prescription use that is based solely on recipients of pharmacy benefits and that adjusts for age and copayment rates as factors that could influence variation.

"This study of regional prescription variation is part of Express Scripts ongoing exploration of the rapidly changing pharmacy landscape. Based on this study and other Express Scripts studies we expect to develop new pharmacy benefit management approaches that enhance quality and improve cost control for pharmacy benefit plan sponsors and throughout the nation," said Barrett Toan, chief executive officer of Express Scripts.

Motheral analyzed prescription use patterns among 68,000 recipients of pharmacy benefits managed by Express Scripts in nine states -- California, Nevada, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan -- where previous national data on pharmaceutical use had shown variation. However, these national data were not adjusted for age or copayment and did not account for who paid for the prescription, such as a benefit plan, Medicare, Medicaid, or a private payer.

The University of Arizona researcher found that pres

Contact: Steve Littlejohn
Kupper Parker Communications

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