In 2018, the Maine State Legislature enacted LD 1406, “An Act To Promote Prescription Drug Price Transparency.” The new law directs the Maine Health Data Organization (MHDO) to produce an annual prescription drug report, beginning in December 2018 that includes the following information:
Use this interactive Prescription Drug report to learn more about prescription drug utilization and costs in Maine. All three prescription drug reports present information based on prescriptions filled between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 that are available in the MHDO’s All-Payer Claims Database (APCD).
First, select whether you are interested in the Top 25 Most Frequently Prescribed Drugs, the Top 25 Costliest Drugs, or the Top 25 Drugs with the Highest Year-Over-Year Cost Increases. As a default on each dashboard you are shown the results for Brand or Generic drugs and the Overall Payer Type, which is a combination of Commercial, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage. The display shows the National Drug Code (NDC), drug name, drug class(es), count of prescriptions, count of individuals receiving the prescriptions, cost of the drug and—in the case of the report showing year-over-year change—the difference in cost between the most recent and previous 12 month period.
You can then select the Brand or Generic drop-down to focus results on brand name drugs or generic drugs only, or select Brand or Generic to compare all drugs. Then you can select Payer Type to view all Commercial, MaineCare, or Medicare Advantage payers in Maine or to see Overall costs across all payer types.
You can also hover over the Count, Members, Cost, or Year Over Year Increase columns for additional information about the particular drug. This text includes whether the drug is generic or brand name. It also provides a more detailed description of the drug’s therapeutic class, such as Insulins or Antidepressants. Please note that the more detailed description described above appears when you hover over the numbers.
Overview of the Methodology Used to Generate Reports
The new MHDO interactive prescription drug reports include a count of how frequently a particular medication was prescribed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, and the total amount spent on those drugs. These analyses focus on prescription drugs purchased at a retail pharmacy including mail-order; they exclude medications that appear on medical claims and those purchased over the counter. The count is a count of prescriptions; there is no adjustment for quantity differences. The reporting time represents the most recent available 12 months of data as of the date of publication. Additionally, data from the previous 12 months were analyzed to ascertain year-over-year cost increases.
Each analysis is conducted at the level of the 11-digit National Drug Code, a unique, three-segment number that serves as a universal product identifier for drugs. The NDC identifies the chemical compound in the drug, the labeler (usually the manufacturer), and the type of packaging. It is more precise than drug name alone.
These reports include tables for each payer type—Commercial, MaineCare, Medicare Advantage, along with an Overall (all-payer) category—and for brand-name or generic drugs.
The data in these reports was extracted from pharmacy claims data in the MHDO APCD. The reports use the American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Drug Information to provide additional contextual information on the types of therapies each drug is prescribed for. This is shown in the dashboard as Drug Class. Supplemental use-case information available in the written report comes from the FDA or the manufacturer websites.
For more information on how to interpret an NDC code: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/developmentapprovalprocess/ucm070829