Research shows link between higher generic drug use and Medicare Part D star ratings

Value in Health, the official journal of ISPOR (the professional society for health economics and outcomes research), announced today the publication of new research showing that Medicare Part D prescription plans with higher generic drug use have higher summary star ratings and improved member experience. The report, Association Between Higher Generic Drug Use and Medicare Part D Star Ratings: An Observational Analysis was published in the October 2018 issue of Value in Health.

A research team from Auburn University and IMPAQ International conducted a retrospective, observational study using 2011 Medicare contract-level prescription, rating, and enrollment data. A total of 477 individual Medicare prescription contracts were included, representing 75% of total Prescription Drug Plans and more than 65% of total Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans available by the end of 2010. Results indicate that Medicare Part D prescription plans with a higher proportion of generic drugs dispensed received both higher summary star ratings and higher "member experience with drug plan" ratings.

"These findings support our hypothesis that increased dispensing of generic drugs compared with brand drugs may be associated with improved Medicare Part D prescription plan summary star ratings," said author Natalie Hohmann, PharmD, Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn, Alabama, USA. "This knowledge is useful in making informed decisions regarding the role of generic drug use in improving quality ratings for Medicare Part D prescription plans. In turn, this may afford Medicare beneficiaries with improved access to high-quality prescription plans and lower cost medications, thereby improving beneficiary satisfaction and quality of care. Consideration may be given to incorporating proportion of generic drugs dispensed into Medicare Part D star rating measures to improve quality of prescription plans."


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