2016 Fall Newsletter- Drug Exclusion Lists 2017 Update

PBMs and health plans have finalized their 2017 drug formularies, and payers have announced the products on this year’s highly anticipated formulary exclusion lists.  While many of the drugs remain the same as the previous year, the increased presence of biosimilars and generic specialty drugs has caused some interesting changes for the exclusion lists.  The hyperinflation of drug prices has also prompted payers to evaluate the medical necessity of these drugs.

For CVS, a unique hyperinflation drug category now exists on the exclusion list.  CVS has stated that they will evaluate drug price increases on a quarterly basis and potentially remove these items from the formulary when clinically appropriate alternatives are available.  There are ten items identified as “hyperinflation drugs” on CVS’s 2017 formulary exclusion list, including DexPak and Zegerid.  Valeant, who grabbed headlines earlier this year with many of these drug price hikes, markets both of these products.  Interestingly, Express Scripts (ESI) includes none of these ten hyperinflation items on their 2017 exclusion list.

One of the most meaningful changes to the CVS Health formulary exclusion list is the preference for biosimilars and follow-on biologics over their comparator brands.  The exclusion of Gleevec, Lantus, and Neupogen in favor of generic imatinib, Basaglar, and Zarxio sends a strong statement.  CVS is looking for significant savings by removing these high cost biologic or specialty products in favor of covering newer, generic alternatives.  CVS is also excluding brands Crestor and Nexium now that generic version of the drugs (rosuvastatin and esomeprazole) are available.  These changes could help to control rising premiums and costs if a portion of the realized savings are passed on to the patients.

For Express Scripts, one of the most interesting exclusions is alogliptin and alogliptin/metformin, the generic versions of Nesina and Kazano.  Earlier this year, Takeda entered into an agreement with Perrigo to launch authorized generic versions of their alogliptin and alogliptin combination products, Nesina, Oseni, and Kazano.  Takeda hoped that by launching a generic in an all-brand category, they could capture preferred formulary status.  However, likely due to launch prices, it is clear that this did not happen, as both the brands (Nesina and Kazano) and their respective AGs (alogliptin and alogliptin/metformin) are now listed on Express Scripts’ 2017 exclusion list.  Interestingly, neither Oseni nor its alogliptin/pioglitazone AG are included on the exclusion list, but this could change as Express Scripts evaluates products in the future.

The chart below lists new products on the CVS Health and Express Scripts 2017 drug exclusion lists that were not present on the 2016 lists.




2016 Fall Newsletter – 2017 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan Trends Article