OBJECTIVE: To estimate temporal trends in total and out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures for ophthalmic prescription medications among adults in the United States.DESIGN: A retrospective longitudinal cohort study.PARTICIPANTS: Participants in the 2007-2016 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), age 18 years or older. The MEPS is a nationally representative survey of the noninstitutionalized, civilian US population.METHODS: We estimated trends in national and per capita annual ophthalmic prescription expenditures by pooling data into 2-year cycles and using weighted linear regressions. We also identified characteristics associated with greater total or OOP expenditure with multivariable weighted linear regression. Costs were adjusted to 2016 US dollars using the Gross Domestic Product Price Index.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Trends in total and OOP annual expenditures for ophthalmic medications from 2007-2016 as well as factors associated with greater expenditure.RESULTS: From 2007-2016, 9,989 (4.2%) MEPS participants reported ophthalmic medication prescription use. Annual ophthalmic medication utilization increased from 10.0 to 12.2 million individuals from 2007-2008 to 2015-2016. In this same time period, national expenditures for ophthalmic medications increased from $3.39 billion to $6.08 billion and OOP expenditures decreased from $1.34 to $1.18 billion. While the average number of ophthalmic prescriptions filled did not change over the study period (4.2, p=0.10), the average expenditure per prescription increased significantly from $72.30 to $116.42 (p<0.001). Per capita expenditure increased from $338.72 to $499.42 (p<0.001) and per capita OOP expenditure decreased from $133.48 to $96.67 (p<0.001) from 2007-2008 to 2015-2016 respectively. In 2015-2016, dry eye (29.5%) and glaucoma (42.7%) medications accounted for 72.2% of all ophthalmic medication expenditures. Patients who were older than 65 (p<0.001), uninsured (p<0.001), and visually impaired (p<0.001) were significantly more likely to have greater OOP spending on ophthalmic medications.CONCLUSION: Total ophthalmic medication expenditure in the United States increased significantly over the last decade while OOP expenses decreased. Increases in coverage, copayment assistance and utilization of expensive brand drugs may be contributing to these trends. Policy makers and physicians should be aware that rising overall drug expenditures may ultimately increase indirect costs to the patient and offset a decline in OOP prescription drug spending.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ophtha.2020.04.037
View details for PubMedID 32359935