Rx costs up, average copay down

4/18/2008

ST. LOUIS According to a new study released by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, prescription drug costs are going up, but the average co-pay is decreasing.

The company’s 2007 Drug Trend Report shows that the average co-pay dropped 25 cents to $13.20, while the average total cost of a prescription rose from $55.01 to $55.93. Express Scripts said that the decrease in co-payments was due to greater use of generic drugs.

"When more generics are used, benefit plan sponsors can control plan costs without shifting these costs to consumers," said Emily Cox, the company's senior director of research and lead author of the report. She said that, on average, consumers saved $15 per prescription when they chose a generic over a brand.

The study showed that from 2002 through 2007, the average copay for preferred brand drugs increased $4.52, to $19.18. For nonpreferred brand drugs, the copay increased $11.28, to $28.44, from $17.16. But for generics, copays over the five-year span increased just 86 cents, to $7.57, the Express Scripts report indicated.

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