Discovery, development, regulation and marketing of the medications that are used in health care and the economics of the pharmaceutical industry.

Impact of Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan Star Ratings on Enrollment Before and After Implementation of Quality-Related Bonus Payments in 2012

Research Brief
Jun. 10, 2016

In PLOS ONE, LDI Senior Fellows Pengxiang Li and Jalpa Doshi examine the impact of the Medicare Advantage Presciption Drug Plan star ratings before and after 2012, when they became tied to bonus payments. Does an increase in a plan’s star rating have a direct impact on concurrent year plan enrollment? What’s the indirect impact (via bonus payments) of star ratings on subsequent year plan enrollment?

What’s the Story with Drug Prices?

May. 30, 2016

Recent months have seen a flood of stories about drug prices, from Martin Shkreli’s dramatic price hikes on generic drugs to Sovaldi's eye-watering introductory price. But woven within these stories are different storylines, each with its own set of complications and policy solutions. Here we present five distinct drug pricing storylines.

Storyline 1: New, highly effective drugs that are extraordinarily expensive
Example: Sovaldi (Hepatitis C treatment)

Show Me the Money: Economic Evaluations of Opioid Use Disorder Interventions

Issue Brief
May. 25, 2016

This Issue Brief discusses treatments for opioid use disorders and summarizes a new systematic review of economic evaluations of these interventions. The review reveals strong evidence that methadone maintenance therapy is an economically advantageous form of treatment; the economic evidence for buprenorphine and naltrexone treatments is more limited.

Generic Medication Prescription Rates After Health System–Wide Redesign of Default Options Within the Electronic Health Record

May. 19, 2016

Mitesh Patel, Susan Day, Scott Halpern, William Hanson, Joseph Martinez, Steven Honeywell Jr, Kevin Volpp

In JAMA Internal Medicine, Mitesh Patel and colleagues, including Scott Halpern and Kevin Volpp, evaluate how changing electronic health record (EHR) defaults affects physician prescribing of generic drugs. For the study, the researchers utilized a systemic change to the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s EHR defaults. As part of this change, an opt-out checkbox labeled “dispense as written” was added to the prescription screen, and if left unchecked the generic-equivalent medication was prescribed. The authors find that generic prescribing rates increased significantly...

Click Worthy: Stories Encourage Emergency Physicians to Learn More About Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Research Brief
Zachary F. Meisel, MD
May. 5, 2016

New study finds that narrative vignettes outperform standard summaries in promoting engagement with opioid prescription guidelines among a national sample of emergency physicians. 

Opioids Prescribed After Low-Risk Surgical Procedures in the United States, 2004-2012

Mar. 29, 2016

Hannah Wunsch, Duminda Wijeysundera, Molly Passarella, Mark Neuman

In JAMA, Hannah Wunsch and colleagues, including Mark Neuman, document the rising use of opioids prescribed after low-risk surgical procedures in the US. Using data from commercially insured patients, they tracked opioid use in more than 150,000 adults undergoing one of four low-risk procedures in 2004, 2008 and 2012: carpal tunnel release, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, inguinal hernia repair, or knee arthroscopy. Overall, 80% of all patients filled a prescription for an opioid within 7 days after hospital discharge or after the procedure, and 86.4% of the prescriptions were for...