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    Acne, rosacea meds more expensive for Medicare patients seeing specialists

    Patients on Medicare who receive prescriptions for acne and rosacea from specialists pay more for those medications than they would from a primary care physician, according to results of a new study.

    Researchers with The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, conducted a cross-sectional study of the 2008 and 2010 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Prescription Drug Profiles. They found that specialists more frequently prescribed brand-name medications for the most common topical retinoids and topical antibiotics than did primary care physicians, by 6-7%. The topical retinoids prescribed by specialists cost between $18-20 more, on average, than those prescribed by family/internal medicine physicians, per 30-day supply. Additionally, the total costs for tetracycline-class antibiotics from specialists were $18 more and from internal medicine were $3 more expensive than those from family medicine physicians.

    “Costs of prescriptions for acne/rosacea from specialists are higher than those from primary care physicians and could be reduced by choosing generic and less expensive options,” study authors concluded.

    The findings were published online June 24 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

    Zhang M, Silverberg JI, Kaffenberger BH. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017, June 24; epub ahead of print.

    * Source: Healio Dermatology, “Costs for acne, rosacea prescriptions for Medicare patients higher with specialists vs. PCPs,” July 5, 2017 

    Sarah Thuerk
    Sarah Thuerk is associate editor of Healthcare Traveler magazine.

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