FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 13, 2004) – Kentucky’s Medicaid program is making progress in bringing more cost savings to its pharmacy program with more rebates from drug makers.
This is being done by expanding the number of drug classes eligible for supplemental rebates, meaning that the Medicaid program is able to negotiate for better prices for prescription drugs. Medicaid spent more than $700 million for drugs during the 2002-2003 fiscal year.
Medicaid’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee is expanding the number of drug classes eligible for rebates from 12 to 53. The Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, in keeping with Governor Ernie Fletcher’s commitment to modernize Medicaid, serves in an advisory role to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The committee selects drugs to be on Medicaid’s Preferred Drug List by evaluating the drugs based first on their clinical effectiveness and if therapeutically equivalent then on price. Drug products selected for the Preferred Drug List have enhanced access for use in treating Medicaid patients and their providers.
The expansion is projected to save $32 million a year based on results from similar efforts in other states. The 53 classes are being phased in and will be evaluated on a yearly basis. The drug classes are based on the disease the drug treats. For example, there are classes of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes and mental illnesses.
“The committee is proud of its efforts to date, but we feel that there is a lot more that can be done to optimize the care that Medicaid recipients receive while at the same time insuring that Kentucky is optimizing the value that it receives for its expenditures,” said Dr. Robert C. Hughes, a Murray physician who is chairman of the committee. “The committee is pleased with the support and encouragement that we have received from this administration.”
As part of the changes, the committee will start meeting on a monthly basis instead of every other month.
Drug makers already pay Medicaid rebates through a federal program. With Kentucky’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, supplemental rebates are negotiated for drugs that can then be placed on the Preferred Drug List. The committee is made up of physicians and pharmacists who examine the effectiveness of the drugs and makes recommendations to the cabinet secretary.
“The Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee members and especially Dr. Hughes are to be lauded for their selfless donation of time and clinical expertise to ensure appropriate care for our vulnerable citizens,” said Matt Basset, the cabinet’s chief of staff. “These are not paid positions and are for the most part very thankless jobs.”