Another highly utilized medication within the workers’ compensation industry has had its patent expire and the generic equivalent approved for release onto the market. On January 26, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the generic version of brand Nexium, Esomeprazole. Nexium (Esomeprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor most often utilized in the workers’ compensation industry to reduce stomach acid in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. It will be available in both the 20mg and 40mg strengths.
Over 2013 and 2014 the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) of brand Nexium increased more than 11%; presumably because of the expiration of its patent as well as the release of the OTC formulation. Availability of the generic has the potential to lower the Part D aspect of your Medicare Set-Aside allocation if the generic is utilized.
Per HELIOS 2014 Workers’ Compensation Drug Trend Report, gastrointestinal medications, such as Nexium, were noted to be in the top ten categories of specialty drugs prescribed within the workers’ compensation claim. It is often added to a claimant’s drug regimen when they are on other medications such as non streroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) which can cause stomach irritation and upset. The report also ranked brand Nexium #10 out of the top 25 Brand medications in percentage of total spend.
A launch date for the generic formulation has not been set as of today, therefore there is no price available at this time. However, clinical analysis has shown that on average the generic formulation has a 10% lower price when launched over its brand counterpart and over time can create savings. The FDA recently revoked a tentative approval for Ranbaxy Laboratories’ six-month exclusivity for their generic which will now allow other manufacturers to launch their products resulting in a more competitive price at the time they are released.
HELIOS Settlement Solutions hopes that you will find this information beneficial in helping to control costs both within the worker’s compensation claim and the MSA. As 2015 progresses, HELIOS will continue to keep the industry informed of prescription updates and changes.