Author Topic: "High-dollar prescribers proliferate in Medicare's drug program" (Pro Publica)  (Read 30 times)

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Offline agate

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This article in ProPublica (November 17, 2016) contains information about some of the MS drugs:

https://www.propublica.org/article/high-dollar-prescribers-proliferate-in-medicare-drug-program

Quote
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Dr. Ben Thrower, medical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Institute at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, was near the top of the list in 2014. He prescribed medications costing $11.5 million that year, mostly for multiple sclerosis drugs. “We get that it’s very expensive,” Thrower said. “I think all the MS providers working in the U.S. would like to see the costs go down.” But prices have climbed steadily in recent years for drugs used to treat the neurological condition, even those that have been on the market for quite a while.

Most of the spending on Thrower’s prescriptions – $8.5 million — was for MS drugs Tecfidera and Copaxone, which can slow progression of MS and reduce the chance of relapse. Thrower has received payments from the makers of those and other MS drugs, but said he cut ties with the companies in January of this year.

“It was kind of exciting when the first one came out,” Thrower said. “The problem we’ve seen is the cost for these drugs has just gone up and up and up.”

Thrower said he no longer prescribes Tecfidera to new patients because it can lower white blood cell counts, putting them at risk for infections.

...

Thrower, the multiple sclerosis specialist, said the high cost of drugs frustrates him and his colleagues, but ultimately the successful treatment of patients comes first.

“On one hand, we get that,” he said. “On the other hand, when you’re sitting in the exam room and looking someone in the eye, you can’t say, ‘I’m not going to treat you because of the cost.’”

MS Speaks--online for 13 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.

 

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