February 25, 2016
The UK College of Pharmacy Research Publication Highlight for January 2016 is titled “The Prevalence and Predictors of Low-Cost Generic Program Use in the Pediatric Population” and was published in Drugs – Real World Outcomes.
The study was conducted in the UK College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy (IPOP). Graduate students Nathan Pauly and Joshua Brown led the effort under the supervision of IPOP Director, Dr. Jeff Talbert, PhD.
Low-cost generic drug programs (LCGPs), such as the $4 generic program at Wal-Mart, have been in place for almost a decade. However, little is known about the extent of their use and which subsets of the population benefit. While these programs provide greater access and affordability for prescription medications, especially among Americans with low income or without health insurance, use of these programs has wide implications for research and quality initiatives. Using Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data from 2007-2012, the researchers examined the characteristics of LCGP users in the pediatric population—an at-risk population anticipated to benefit from LCGPs. The data reveal that 6% of all prescriptions to children over this period were purchased through LCGPs. They also indicate that the population most likely to take advantage of LCGPs were white and privately insured, but without prescription drug coverage. LCGP users were also more likely to be from higher income brackets and residing in urban areas. Surprisingly, those with lower income and without insurance were not as likely to use these programs.
“This is the first look into the utilization of LCGPs and who is benefitting from such programs. The data are revealing and in some ways disappointing in that the population for which they were designed and would benefit the most is less likely to benefit” said Greg Graf, Assistant Dean for Translational Research.