Most drug classes represented in Part D plan formularies

June 25, 2007

Most Medicare Part D beneficiaries have access to most drug classes despite wide variations in formularies, according to a report in the June 20 issue of JAMA.

Most Medicare Part D beneficiaries have access to most drug classes despite wide variations in formularies, according to a report in the June 20 issue of JAMA. In the analysis of 72 formularies available in California and Hawaii, the researchers found that coverage for 75 specific drugs ranged from 7% to 100% of formularies and averaged 69% across all drugs. Formulary coverage was highest for thiazide diuretics (90%) and beta-blockers (85%), while only 49% of statins and 39% of angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) were covered in the formularies. Previous studies indicate that two-thirds of clinicians say they lack familiarity with Part D formularies, and three-fourths have been asked by pharmacies or patients to change a prescription to a different drug so that it would be covered by the patient's plan. Currently, there are 1,875 prescription drug plans in the Medicare Part D program.

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