Utah Preferred Prescription Drug List Savings Less Than Projected

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Utah's Medicaid preferred prescription drug list in its first year has reduced spending by nearly $546,000, but the savings fell about $2.75 million short of original estimates by the Utah Department of Health, according to Michael Hales, the director of the state Division of Health Care Financing, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

According to health department Director David Sundwall, the full savings of the program was not achieved in part because of changes to legislation that created the preferred drug list. The Tribune reports that state lawmakers were concerned Medicaid costs could increase if beneficiaries had complications or reactions with preferred drugs, and they approved an amendment to the bill that allows physicians to write "dispense as written" on prescriptions, rather than requiring prior authorization.


In addition, Hales said that the full savings projections were not met this fiscal year because drugs were added to the list over several months. He said that in 2009 all drug classes will be included on the list and administrative costs will be lower, which could reduce Medicaid spending by nearly $1.2 million. Sundwall said he intends to ask lawmakers to reinstate the prior authorization requirement for physicians to prescribe drugs that are not on the preferred list.

In addition, the state health department currently is working with the Utah Medical Association to approach physicians who most frequently prescribe drugs not on the list. The health department also will request that the state Legislature redefine "psychotropic" so additional drug classes can be placed on the list (Rosetta, Salt Lake Tribune, 9/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.