Medstat Study Finds Higher Insurance Co-Payments Limit Patients' Use Of Preferred Medications

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Multiple sclerosis patients were less likely to take the generally recommended medications for their condition when their out-of-pocket cost for the prescription drugs rose, according to research from Medstat, a business of The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).

The study, to be published this week in Clinical Therapeutics, found patients would be 32 percent more likely to use these medications if their insurance co-payments were reduced by half.

Researchers used health claims data from Medstat's MarketScan(R) database to analyze the treatment patterns of 1,807 multiple sclerosis patients. They tracked use of three new disease-modifying drugs -- Biogen's Avonex(R), Betaseron(R) from Berlex Laboratories, and Copaxone(R) from Teva Neuroscience -- which slow the progression of the disease and cost about $10,000 per patient annually.

If drug co-payment requirements were to decrease by 50 percent, the research team found, the proportion of patients who would be treated with these drugs would rise from 41.2 percent to 54.7 percent. "Decisions about the structure of health benefits have implications for access to care by MS patients," said lead author Ron Ozminkowski, Ph.D., director of Health and Productivity Management Research at Medstat.

Dr. Stan Finkelstein, a physician, research scientist and co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program on the Pharmaceutical Industry, is a co-author of the study. "This project illustrates how drug costs and health plan design can affect the delivery of healthcare, clinical decision making, and therefore quality of life," he said.

Medstat studies medical economics to provide health insurers, healthcare providers, drug companies, government agencies, and employers with insights into patient behavior, medical outcomes, and healthcare costs.

Other researchers participating in the study were William D. Marder, Ph.D., and Kevin Hawkins, Ph.D., from Medstat; consultant David Wierz, M.A.; and Shaohung Wang, Ph.D., Sarah Stallings, Ph.D., and Anthony Sinskey, Ph.D., from the MIT Program on the Pharmaceutical Industry. The study was funded by a grant from Wyeth. MarketScan data have been used for more than 80 studies published since 1995.

Medstat (http://www.medstat.com/ ) is a healthcare information company that provides market intelligence and benchmark databases, decision support solutions, and research services for managing the cost and quality of healthcare. The company applies these capabilities to improve policy and management decision making for employers, government agencies, health plans, hospitals and provider networks, and pharmaceutical companies. Medstat is a business within The Thomson Corporation. The Thomson Corporation (http://www.thomson.com/ ), with 2003 revenues from continuing operations of $7.44 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value- added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate training and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 38,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).

Medstat

CONTACT: David Wilkins of Medstat, +1-734-913-3397,david.wilkins@thomson.com

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