Insurers Vs. Compounders, What's The Cost?


Compounded medicines have emerged as a pricey patient treatment in today’s health care industry. The use of compounding has created tension between health insurance companies and pharmacies. In addition, there is no substantial evidence that supports compound medicines are a more effective treatment option than traditional drugs.

However, “compounded medicines are the Savile Row suits of the pharmacy, made to order when common treatments will not suffice.” Examples of these include a recent $1,600 diaper rash ointment and a $2,300 salve to relieve pain. Insurance providers have begun to notice the premium cost of compound medicine and are alarmed by this trend.

Due to this, pharmacy benefits managers such as Express Scripts have begun the process of cutting compound medicine spending by as much as 95 percent.

The compounding industry is not willing to give up the fight, as Jay McEniry, the executive director of a prominent coalition states. “Millions of people benefit from compounding,” McEniry says. “For the most part, people who take compounded medications have no alternatives.”

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