Adherence to generic cholesterol-lowering drugs associated with decrease in total costs of care

Previous studies showed higher costs of care for patient adherence to brand-name statins; new study shows generic statin adherence can lower overall costs

SAN DIEGO, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- People who regularly take statins to reduce high cholesterol will see lower hospitalization rates according to a new study presented today at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)'s 25th Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego. The study was conducted by pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics (Prime) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Minnesota.

The study demonstrated that adherence to generic statin therapy results in lower hospitalization rates which offset higher pharmacy costs resulting in lower total costs of care. This study differs from previous research which focused on adherence to brand statin therapy and showed that adherence was associated with lower medical events but with higher total costs, due in part to the higher drug costs of brand-name medications.

The study compared two years of hospitalization rates, medical costs and pharmacy costs among patients who were adherent and non-adherent to generic statins. Working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Minnesota, Prime used pharmacy and medical claims data from a commercially insured population of 1.2 million members continuously enrolled from 2007 through 2010.

The research included nearly 22,000 members, of which 46 percent were adherent and 54 percent that were not. The adherent group was associated with a lower hospitalization rate (25 percent adherent versus 27.6 percent non-adherent), lower medical costs ($11,353 adherent versus $12,375 non-adherent) and higher pharmacy costs ($4,016 adherent versus $3,079 non-adherent). The result is a lower total cost of care ($15,290 adherent versus $15,451 non-adherent).

"We know adherence to statin therapy can keep patients out of the hospital, but in the past, this also came with a higher cost of care," said Patrick Gleason, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, director of health outcomes at Prime. "As more generic statins enter the market, we see that generic statins can not only help prevent hospitalizations, but can also improve the quality of life through fewer hospitalizations and contribute to lower overall health care costs."

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

About Prime Therapeutics
Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime) helps people get the medicine they need to feel better and live well. Prime manages pharmacy benefits for health plans, employers, and government programs including Medicare and Medicaid. The company processes claims and delivers medicine to members, offering clinical services for people with complex medical conditions. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Prime serves nearly 20 million people. It is collectively owned by 13 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, subsidiaries or affiliates of those plans. Prime has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation.

SOURCE Prime Therapeutics LLC