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4/12/2001

MCOs Give Nod to Estrogens, Limit Antifungals

Kate Traynor

Three hormone-replacement products made by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories dominated a list of the five prescription drugs with the greatest "formulary penetration" last year, reports a market research firm.

Premarin, a conjugated-estrogens formulation, topped the list of drug products most often available to managed care organization (MCO) enrollees. The estrogen–medroxyprogesterone preparations Prempro and Premphase ranked third and fourth on the list.

Number two was Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s metformin product, Glucophage. Abbott Laboratories' Depakote, divalproex, ranked fifth.

The research firm also listed the drugs for which MCOs most frequently required prior authorization before access. GlaxoSmithKline’s zanamivir product, Relenza, led the list, and Roche Laboratories Inc.’s Tamiflu, oseltamivir, ranked third. Rounding out the top five were three antifungal products: Janssen Pharmaceutica’s Sporanox, itraconazole; Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ Lamisil tablets, terbinafine; and Pfizer Inc.’s Diflucan, fluconazole.

These findings appear in Scott-Levin’s fall 2000 "Managed Care Formulary Drug Audit Summary Report," which analyzed formulary programs and prescribing controls used in the MCO industry. Information presented in the audit was obtained from pharmacy executives whose organizations provide pharmacy benefits to about 60 percent of American formulary users.