Florida Blue Medicare, Prime Therapeutics Work Together to Reduce Opioid Overuse and Save Lives
During the COVID-19 pandemic, drug overdose deaths rose 15% to more than 107,000 Americans in 2021¹. with the overwhelming majority of opioids, according to the CDC. Florida Blue Medicare, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare plan, recently announced the results of a pilot program designed to help save the lives of Medicare members and their families with access to their medications. Through a collaboration with pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics, members who participated in the program took fewer opioid medications, which contributed to a lower risk of addiction and saved more lives.
As part of the pilot program, Florida Blue Medicare members at risk were identified using a predictive model based on member claims data and Prime’s opioid record. The program emphasized education and security for two groups, both of which had positive results:
Members with new opioid prescriptions received information describing what an opioid is, how they work, and how to use and dispose of them safely, as part of the pilot program.
New users consumed a significantly lower amount of opioids, using 37% fewer milligram equivalents of morphine (MME) than the control group. (An MME is the equivalent of a dose of opioids with morphine and is used to help doctors make safe and appropriate decisions about opioid regimens.) New users also stopped using opioids. voluntarily at a higher rate while in the studio, with 29% more new users quitting. compared to the control group.
Members who had an existing opioid prescription, as well as their doctors, received information about the safe use and disposal of opioids. The material also encouraged members to talk to a doctor or pharmacist about naloxone, a drug that reverses an opioid overdose in an emergency.
One in 10 members of the group stopped using opioids during the follow-up period. This resulted in a 7% reduction in opioid prescriptions and a 2.8% increase in naloxone prescriptions.
Florida Blue has taken an aggressive approach to fighting the opioid crisis Florida. Through its opioid working group, launched in 2016, the company has launched a number of key initiatives to address the issue in a meaningful way, including collaboration with our pharmacy partners.
“We are committed to reducing opioid overuse by helping our members find other ways to manage pain effectively, providing education and providing other innovative solutions. Prime Therapeutics has been an important ally in this fight,” he said. . Cynthia Griffin, PharmD, vice president of Medicare pharmacy programs at Florida Blue Medicare. “The results of this pilot are very encouraging. By using data to create customized programs for our members, we can make a positive contribution to reducing opioid abuse in our community and potentially saving lives.” .
Based on the positive results of this pilot, Florida Blue Medicare and Prime Therapeutics have plans to expand their opioid management programs to help more members and their families.