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D. J. Lee, B. Lam, K. Arheart, D. Zheng, P. Muennig, A. Caban-Martinez, E. Davila, S. Christ; Trends in Glaucoma Prescription Medication Expenditures: The 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3990.
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The last decade has brought changes to the medical management of glaucoma with the introduction of prostaglandin analogues and increasingly available generic forms of drug classes (e.g., beta-blockers). The purpose of this study is to describe glaucoma prescription medication drug expenditure trends in sociodemographic subgroups using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.
Participants of the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) with glaucoma medication records were analyzed (n=2148). Total and average annual survey-adjusted expenditures for participants with glaucoma are reported by the following subgroups: glaucoma medication class, age-group, gender, race, insurance status (public, private, uninsured), and educational attainment.
The annual average glaucoma medication expenditures increased from $361 in 2001 to $514 in 2006 (p for trend <0.001). The proportion of total glaucoma medication expenditures attributed to prostaglandin analogues medications increased from 34% to 49% during this time period. Groups with the highest average annual expenditure increases included: those with public health insurance (slope=$64; p<0.001), adults 45-64 years of age ($42; p<0.001), blacks ($39; p=0.11), females ($36; p=0.01) and those 65 years of age and older ($30; p=0.002). Males experienced little expenditure growth ($10; p=0.36) and 2001-2006 pooled expenditures for the uninsured (n=56) averaged $332.
Glaucoma medication expenditures increased 70% from 2001-2006 and were accompanied by increased use of prostaglandin analogues medications. There was substantial variation in expenditure trends across sociodemographic subgroups with the greatest increases noted in those with public health insurance (primarily Medicare recipients), with substantially lower expenditures among the uninsured. Progress toward universal health coverage may serve to address apparent under treatment of uninsured adults with glaucoma.
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