CVS Health intends to remove 35 drug products used to treat patients with cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis C from its standard 2017 formulary in order to address the financial impact of costly medications.
According to CNBC, this announcement came on the heels of Express Scripts’ release of the list of drugs that will be excluded next year from their formulary. CVS’ removal, however, now includes a total of 155 medications, whereas Express Scripts’ list excludes a total of 85 products.
CVS Health published a document titled “2017 Standard Formulary List of Removals and Updates.” In the update, the company explains their 2017 formulary management strategy, which includes:
- Embracing biosimilars
- Focusing on indications
- Removing hyperinflationary drugs
“Effective January 1, 2017 we expect to remove 35 products from our standard formulary, including 10 hyperinflationary drugs,” said CVS Health.
Medications such as Novum Pharmaceuticals’ Alcortin® experienced an inflation in price—2856.8 percent in the last three years. Some drugs are being replaced with lower-cost ones. However, this decision isn’t necessarily a permanent one—as the company also said it will “evaluate medications” each quarter to determine if there are other cost-effective alternatives.
“A key to containing cost is effective formulary management,” the company said. “This is essential at a time when escalating drug prices as well as the introduction of new, costly therapies are creating significant challenges to the affordability of health care.”
Some of the hyperinflation drug removals include:
- Antiandrogens: Xtandi, Nilandron oral tablets
- Beta Blocker Combinations: Dutoprol oral tablets
- Carnitine Deficiency Agents: Carnitor/Carnitor SF oral solution (MSB)
- Corticosteroids: DexPak oral tablets, Millipred/ Millipred DP oral tablets, dose pack and oral solution
- Dermatology: Alcortin A gel, Aloquin gel, Novacort gel
- Potassium Supplements: Klor-Con oral pack for solution
- Proton Pump Inhibitors: Nexium (MSB), Zegerid oral suspension and capsules (MSB)
(To view the full list, click here.)
The company also said it will be taking steps to “address ‘limited source generics’ which are products with limited generic manufacturers resulting in significant cost in the market. These products will be evaluated and if appropriate, be excluded during the year.”
So, what are the trends?
- Pharmacy benefit managers’ exclusion list continues to grow each year
- Biosimilars are starting to be embraced
- Hepatitis C treatments are still a topic of contention