ST. PAUL, Minn., May 20 /PRNewswire/ — Despite concerns
from public health officials, influenza antiviral drugs were not
hoarded during the recent H1N1 flu season, according to a new
analysis presented recently at the Academy of Managed Care
Pharmacy’s 22nd Annual Meeting in San
Diego by Prime Therapeutics (Prime), a thought leader in
pharmacy benefit management.
For the study, researchers from Prime and one of its Blue Cross
Blue Shield (BCBS) clients compared the use of influenza antiviral
drugs during the H1N1 season to antiviral use during past flu
seasons. The H1N1 global pandemic was declared in June 2009, and the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) recommended that patients at high risk of a
complication, or those suspected of influenza and with more serious
symptoms, receive antiviral medications. Amidst public concern
about the pandemic, public health officials warned against hoarding
of antiviral medication.
Researchers examined antiviral use among nine million members
enrolled in commercial health plans across 11 states between September 2006 and December 2009 to determine the frequency of
high-quantity and multiple-refill oseltamivir (a common influenza
antiviral drug) claims among different geographic regions. While
there was variability in antiviral use across geographic regions,
use of antivirals during the H1N1 season was comparable to past flu
seasons, and there was little indication of hoarding.
The study was designed to evaluate whether a utilization
management program might increase patient safety and control costs.
Researchers concluded that the impact of an antiviral quantity
limit program would be limited given the low prevalence of