HealthDay News — Utilization of new-to-market neurologic medications in the privately insured population remains low, according to a study published online November 30 in Neurology.

Evan L. Reynolds, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues compared the utilization and costs of new-to-market neurologic medications with existing guideline-supported neurologic medications over time using data from a health care pharmaceutical claims database from 2001 to 2019. Patients with both a diagnosis of one of 11 separate neurologic conditions and either a new-to-market medication or an existing guideline-supported medication for that condition were identified.

The researchers found that compared with existing, guideline-supported medications, utilization of most new-to-market medications was low (<20 percent in all but one condition). For new-to-market medications, the out-of-pocket and standardized total costs were substantially larger. In 2019, the largest median out-of-pocket costs for a 30-day supply were for edaravone ($712.80) and eculizumab ($91.10). The distribution of out-of-pocket costs was highly variable for new-to-market medications, and the trends over time were unpredictable compared with existing guideline-supported medications.

“For new, high-cost medications that have similar effectiveness to older drugs, limited use is likely appropriate,” a coauthor said in a statement. “However, future studies are needed to look into whether the high costs are barriers to those new medications that can really make a difference for people living with neurologic disease.”

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