Drug spending and cost in Oregon and beyond: Regence’s Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services speaks with the Portland Business Journal

By Regence
November 20, 2018
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Regence’s Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services, David Robertson, recently spoke with the Portland Business Journal about the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s new report on rising drug prices and spending. The data shows how branded prescription drug spending increased four percent since 2016—and while accounting for only 17 percent of total prescriptions filled, branded prescription drugs made up 79 percent of total medication spending.

Robertson notes that Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has experienced similar changes, even while successfully helping increase the proportion of generic drugs to approximately 87 percent of prescriptions filled. Generic alternatives generally cost significantly less than brand names, saving people money while providing the same quality of care. Robertson notes that, locally, Regence is constantly exploring ways to help control prescription costs for its members while maintaining and increasing quality. “The top priority is to make sure members have access to safe, effective, cutting-edge prescriptions and advanced health care solutions,” says Robertson. “Part of that answer is transparency and making sure we understand the dynamics because the drug pricing channel is complex.”

The full Portland Business Journal article is publicly available online as of Oct. 20, 2018.