This is just totally inexcusable and unbelievable.
Penlac Nail Lacquer rarely cures the nail fungus it is designed to treat, yet it costs $130 a thimbleful. As a result, more than 20 state Medicaid programs and dozens of private health insurers require doctors to get advance permission to prescribe it. But not New York Medicaid, which spent $12 million on the drug last year, more than eight times as much as any other state.What an utter waste of money. But what this really shows is a desperate need for an advisory board -- one that makes the efficacy of various therapies and pharmaceuticals clear for all health care payers to examine. While some people know that Prilosec is the same as Nexium, it's not general information. It's crucial that this information is easily accessible to help reign in spending.
New York spent $74 million last year, far more than any other state, on Nexium, the "new Purple Pill" for heartburn. The drug is virtually identical to Prilosec, available at one-sixth the cost over the counter, and so at least 20 state Medicaid programs and many private health insurance companies severely restrict its use. Only now, two years after other states began imposing limits on Nexium, has New York moved to restrict it.
And those amounts are pocket change compared with the $348 million or more that New York could have saved if it were as aggressive as a state like Michigan in setting the prices it pays pharmacies for the drugs they dispense.
Update: Health Care Renewal has more