Sharing rebates on diabetes medicines could save people with diabetes $3.7 billion a year

A new study released yesterday by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) finds that passing along rebates on prescription diabetes medicines at the pharmacy counter could save individuals with diabetes $3.7 billion annually. Sharing rebates also would reduce overall healthcare spending by improving medication adherence and reducing diabetes-related complications.

The broad impact of diabetes throughout the U.S. is increasing. One in 11 adults – more than 30 million Americans – has type 2 diabetes, with another eight million not yet diagnosed and 86 million more with prediabetes. Diabetes is frequently associated with one or more other chronic conditions, and diabetes-related complications exact an enormous toll. Uncontrolled diabetes raises risks for heart disease, stroke, amputations, blindness, and kidney disease – creating ramifications for not just the individual with diabetes and his or her family, but also for employers and health plans.

The study, released by PFCD, estimates the impact of passing through negotiated manufacturer rebates and discounts on brand diabetes medicines at the point of sale to adults with type 2 diabetes who have commercial insurance. Medication adherence improves with lower out-of-pocket costs, particularly so with diabetes. The model then estimates how medication adherence improvements reduce complications and affect net overall medical spending.

The study found that sharing rebates on diabetes medicines could save $3.7 billion per year, or $791 per person with diabetes if the full rebate is shared. Even if they pass along the entire rebate to the patients taking the medicines, health plans also could save $435 million a year from reductions in medical spending gained resulting from enhanced medication adherence. Improved adherence could also mean one million fewer hospital visits annually.

Visit PFCD for the release.

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