On April 28, 2015 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the generic formulation (Aripiprazole), of Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals’ brand Abilify®.
Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of bipolar depression and schizophrenia. It is also indicated as adjunct therapy in the treatment of depression when antidepressant monotherapy is inadequate. Non-bipolar depression with or without psychotic symptoms, is a common co-morbid condition in patients with chronic pain due to an industrial injury. Four manufacturers had their generic formulations approved for release to the market. Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., Hetero Labs Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals and Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The generics are available in 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30mg strengths. As of Thursday, April 30th, the AWP (Average Wholesale Price) for the generic formulation ranges from $32.07 to $45.41 per tablet depending on the strength and manufacturer in comparison to $35.67 to $50.45 for brand Abilify®.
The HELIOS 2015 Workers’ Compensation Drug Trends Report identified Abilify® as number 19 of the top 25 medications ranked by total spend. It also noted that the therapeutic class, antipsychotics, accounted for 2.3% of total drug spend in 2014, but only 0.7% of the total transactions. This disparity was attributed to the high cost of these medications which was heavily influenced by Abilify®. The report went on to say Abilify® accounted for 50% of total spend in this therapeutic class at an average cost of $1,017 per prescription. The availability of the new generic formulations will definitely impact prescription costs within the workers’ compensation industry as well as the Medicare Set Aside Allocations (MSA).
As prescription drug costs continue to rise dramatically, impacting the workers’ compensation industry, it is increasingly important for claim professionals to evaluate this exposure and mitigate costs when possible. HELIOS Settlement Solutions realizes the importance of keeping you up to date on new generic formulations as part of an overall approach to reduce overall claim costs and ultimately the prescription drug portion of the MSA.