San Francisco, Calif., – The cost of searching for the fountain of youth has
become increasingly expensive and now exceeds the cost for medications used to
treat chronic disease, according to new research released today at the American
Public Health Association’s 140th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.
The research suggests that
cost and utilization of medications to treat conditions considered a normal
part of aging, including those related to hormone replacement therapy, sexual
dysfunction and mental alertness, are becoming so popular that they now rank
third for cost impact only behind diabetes and cholesterol among commercially
Researchers at Express
Scripts in St. Louis looked at trends in prescriptions filled for aging
medications among those commercially insured and found that in 2011 alone, per
member cost for aging medications ($73.30) was 16 percent greater than the amount
spent on both high blood pressure and heart disease medications ($62.80). The
cost for diabetes medications was $81.12 and high cholesterol medications was
$78.38. The cost for aging
medications increased 46 percent from 2006.
Between 2007 and 2011,
utilization among Medicare beneficiaries for these conditions increased 32
percent. Utilization increased by 18.5 percent among the commercially insured.
“At a time when people are
forgoing care due to rising health costs, this study reveals a growing trend on
where the public is placing its healthcare dollars,” said Reethi Iyengar, PhD,
researcher at Express Scripts and an APHA Annual Meeting presenter. “Continued
monitoring and potential management may be warranted for this category of
Study results are based on
Express Scripts claims data from 2006-2011 for commercially insured members and
2007-2011 for Medicare beneficiaries.
APHA’s 140th Annual Meeting is themed “Prevention
and Wellness Across the Lifespan” and will focus on the importance of
environmental, social and behavioral issues that impact health at all stages of