This Bottle of Pills Costs $20 in One State and $130 in Another | Bloomberg

Bottle of Pills James Alexander Michie


The same medication can have different prices in different states. An example of this is the generic versions of the medicine for heartburn Nexium. These should be cheap throughout the United States. Many manufacturers sell it. Wholesalers can buy pills for one month for less than $ 20. While in several states, Medicaid plans that serve the poor are paying more, and much more.

Bloomberg News conducted an analysis early last year in Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, and Ohio. Where a $ 20 bottle of generic Nexium cost Medicaid managed care plans more than $ 130. It should be noted that this is a really big price difference.

Variation of prices in various medications

However, this is not the only drug with a variation in prices in various states. Being that Bloomberg News also carried out an analysis of around 90 generic big-sale drugs in Medicaid managed care plans. It was also found that in 31 states there are large variations in the prices of medicines from state to state. In some states, Medicaid plans seem to be getting a good deal. In others, the plans pay benefits of three or more in some treatments.

It should be noted that during the beginning of last year, in Indiana, private Medicaid plans paid more than $ 8,900 for the supply of imatinib for a month. This being a small discount on the brand, which lists just over $ 10,000 per month.

On the other hand, the wholesale price of the anti-cancer drug for pharmacies was less than $ 3,100 per month in the first quarter of last year. And in Washington, one of the lowest-cost states in Bloomberg’s analysis, generic imatinib costs Medicaid plans a little less than $ 2,900 per month during that period. Meanwhile, lower priced drugs show a similar dynamic.

Likewise, we have tried to justify the reasons why there are such price variations. And it’s because independent pharmacies, state legislators and state officials have pointed to pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, as a possible reason for large price differences. Being that they have complained that PBMs, which have contracts to administer drug benefits in many state programs, operate with little transparency. Leaving as a consequence a real difficulty in identifying if the health plans are obtaining a good agreement.

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Source: Robert Langreth, David Ingold and Jackie Gu | Bloomberg

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