Payer formulary tier increases of apixaban: how patients respond and potential implications Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1080/03007995.2023.2232636 Web of Science: 001037999600001

Cited authors

  • Deitelzweig S, Terasawa E, Atreja N, Kang A, Hines DM, Dhamane AD, Hagan M, Noman A, Luo XM


  • ObjectiveTo assess potential impacts of formulary tier increases of apixaban-an efficacious oral anticoagulant (OAC) for preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF)-on patients' prescription drug plan (PDP) switching and OAC treatment patterns.MethodsNationwide claims data for Medicare beneficiaries with Parts A, B, and D (100% sample) were used to assess apixaban-treated AF patients who faced a formulary tier increase for apixaban in 2017 by their Part D PDP. Patients' out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for apixaban were described, along with PDP switching and OAC treatment patterns.ResultsAmong 1845 included patients, 97.7% had apixaban on tier 3 of their plan's formulary in 2016 and faced its increase to tier 4 for 2017. Approximately 4% (N = 81) of patients pre-emptively switched to a different PDP for 2017 with almost all switching to plans with apixaban on a lower formulary tier and 85.2% continuing apixaban treatment. Among the 96% (N = 1764) of patients who remained on the same PDP for 2017, over half (57.5%) continued apixaban treatment, despite increased OOP costs ($54 vs. $135 for a 30-day supply in 2016 vs. 2017). Only 12.4% of those who remained on the same plan for 2017 switched to another OAC, while as much as 30.1% discontinued OACs. These discontinuers exhibited higher comorbidity burdens than patients continuing on any OAC.ConclusionThe majority of patients continued on apixaban despite higher OOP cost, suggesting patients' reluctance to change treatment for non-medical reasons; however, 30% of patients discontinued OAC treatment after higher apixaban tier placement.

Publication date

  • 2023

Published in

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0300-7995

Number of pages

  • 9