Drug Policy Impacts Regional Trends of Cholesterol Rx Use
(HealthDay News) — Within Canada, regional variation has been noted in ezetimibe use, which is associated with the restrictiveness of publicly-funded drug formularies, according to a study published online June 3 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Lingyun Lu, PharmD, from the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA, and colleagues conducted a population-level cohort study to examine ezetimibe use in four provinces in Canada. The provinces had a gradient in the restrictiveness of ezetimibe in publicly-funded formularies (most to least restrictive: British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario). Use was examined using IMS Health Canada's data from June 2003–December 2012.
The researchers observed regional variation in ezetimibe use patterns. The lowest monthly increasing rate was seen in British Columbia (most restrictive), which increased from $261 (Canadian dollars) to $21,926 from June 2003 to December 2012 ($190/100,000 population/month). In contrast, the least restrictive Ontario had the most rapid monthly increase, from $223 to $74,030 ($647/100,000 population/month). Quebec and Alberta had intermediate increases, from $130 to $59,690 ($522/100,000 population/month) and from $356 to $37,604 ($327/100,000 population/month), respectively.
"Ezetimibe use remains common, increasing during the past decade," the authors write. "The gradient in ezetimibe use was related to variability in restrictiveness of the provincial formularies, illustrating the potential of a policy response gradient that may be used to more effectively manage medication use."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and health insurance industries.