Insurers question use of Vytorin
Already, Cigna Corp. has suspended part of a program that notified members using certain other cholesterol drugs that Vytorin was an effective and less costly alternative. The program, known as “step therapy,” is an effort to help health plans control drug costs. Under Cigna’s step-therapy program, members can take “non-preferred” cholesterol drugs, but they have higher copays than “preferred” brands and generic drugs.
Other insurers are also undertaking Vytorin reviews. An independent committee of experts that advises Medco Health Solutions Inc. on drug coverage policies “will be looking at the new data and be making recommendations on any changes” deemed necessary, Medco spokeswoman Ann Smith told Dow Jones Newswires. Another PBM, Express Scripts Inc., is reviewing the study, which the company says is standard practice whenever new drug data comes out. UnitedHealth Group Inc. one of the nation’s largest health insurers, isn’t making any immediate coverage changes for Vytorin, partly because medical guidelines haven’t changed. But a committee will be reviewing the new data later this month.