Cigna Signals

  • by: Peter Pitts |
  • 10/18/2017
Last week’s commentary on Cigna’s plan to replace Oxycontin ER with Xtampza ER on its core formulary (Is Cigna Trading Patient Choice for Hidden Profits?) resulted in a very open and honest chat with a senior Cigna executive. He assured me that patient co-pays wouldn’t go up for Xtampza ER and that if a patient stays on Oxycontin after prior authorization, that the co-pay would also stay the same. So, good news for patients there.

I asked how this change in tiering would “guard against opioid abuse” (since both products are formulated with properties designed to deter intranasal – snorting, and intravenous -- injection abuse, and one isn't "better" than the other). The answer was that, because of the value-based contract, Collegium would be rewarded for “appropriate prescribing.” But since Collegium (the manufacturer of Xtampza ER) doesn’t prescribe (they sell) would their role be in detailing “best practices?” The executive didn’t know -- but promised to get get back to me with an answer. So, watch this space for more details.

I also mentioned to him that Purdue Pharma (as far as I know) is the only company actively detailing the CDC Opioid prescribing guidelines. The CDC guidelines seem to be a baseline requirement for enhanced physician education, and who better to do this than the manufacturers who are detailing directly to them? While the process in the development of the guidelines was not as transparent as they could have been, the guidelines themselves are a sensible foundation. Hopefully Cigna’s deal with Collegium will drive better prescriber awareness.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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