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Physicians Who e-Prescribe Choose Cheaper Drugs, Report Says

March 15, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Surveyed U.S. endocrinologists and primary care physicians (PCPs) said they use e-prescribing for 76 percent of their Medicare patients and 79 percent of their non-Medicare patients, figures that are expected to grow in the next year, according to a report from research and advisory firm Decision Resources. The report, which surveyed 70 endocrinologists and 70 PCPs as well as 25 managed-care organization (MCO) pharmacy directors also found that approximately 80 percent of PCPs and endocrinologists say they would prescribe a less expensive DPP-IV inhibitor to their patients with Type 2 diabetes or hypertension, reflecting high cost-sensitivity.

The report, “E-Prescribing and Electronic Health Records: Impact of Technology on Prescribing for Hypertension and Diabetes,” said that 84 percent of MCO pharmacy directors have seen physicians prescribing drugs with lower patient costs and fewer restrictions because of the information provided in e-prescribing solutions.

Within their e-prescribing program, roughly 60 percent of physicians say they have access to their patients' formularies. These physicians report they have easy access to formularies for most of their patients and that this knowledge results in them paying more attention to patient costs.

According to the findings, e-prescribing and electronic health records (EHRs) represent a challenge to marketers of branded drugs. Providing physicians access to formulary information, including copay amounts, is leading these physicians to prescribe the best-reimbursed drug. As a result, formulary placement takes on greater importance.

"The vast majority of physicians say their electronic health record systems only have patient information from their own physician group, meaning they have incomplete information on their patients—this lack of shared information represents a shortcoming of current EHR adoption and prevents improved patient management," Decision Resources Product Manager Roy Moore, said in a statement . "The ability of EHRs to aggregate data and allow for population health management—an underutilized feature today—will allow marketers of branded therapies to demonstrate the superiority of their products versus other competitors and generics. Physician and MCO desires to reduce costs and hospitalizations should make them receptive to clinical data showing therapies' effectiveness along these metrics."

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