November 19, 2020
Salem — $43,525 per prescription makes the brand-name drug Yervoy,
used to treat melanoma, the most expensive prescription drug for Oregon health
insurance carriers, based on data released by the Oregon Division of Financial
For the second year in a row, the brand-name drug Humira, commonly used to
treat rheumatoid arthritis, was the most costly prescription drug reported
by Oregon’s health insurance companies, as well as the most prescribed specialty
drug. Its 17,435 prescriptions in Oregon cost insurance companies approximately
The division also released data on the most costly and most prescribed generic
medications. These prescriptions typically cost less than comparable brand
names. Glatiramer, used to treat multiple sclerosis, was the most expensive
generic drug reported, costing insurance companies approximately $2,800 per
prescription. Dextroamphetamine, a common drug for attention deficit disorder,
was the most costly generic prescription for Oregon insurers, claims for this
drug total more than $6 million annually. Levothyroxine, used to treat thyroid
activity, is the most prescribed generic with approximately 232,000 prescriptions
“The data from our insurers is an important piece to understanding which prescription
drugs have the biggest effect on our health care costs; we appreciate their
willingness to share this information.,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner
and director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “The more
data we receive the better informed all of us are, that is why consumer reporting
is an important piece of our drug transparency program, especially leading
up to the public hearing.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the division will host a virtual public hearing on prescription
drug prices. Oregonians are encouraged to participate by asking questions and
sharing their stories of how prescription drug prices have affected them. Visit
and stories on prescription drug prices to post questions and share
Responses will be used to prepare for the public hearing. The questions and
stories will be shared with legislators at the hearing, but personally identifiable
information will be kept anonymous.
The division released lists
of the most expensive, most costly, and most prescribed drugs which are reported annually by health insurance companies that offer
individual and small group plans in Oregon.
To determine what insurers paid on average for each prescription and to identify
the most expensive prescriptions, the program team examined claims data for
drugs prescribed to 10 or more enrollees and compared the total dollars spent
by insurers to the corresponding prescription counts for each drug.
To learn more about the program or view the most expensive, most costly, and
most prescribed drug lists, visit the program’s website - dfr.oregon.gov/drugtransparency.
To report a specific increase in the cost of a prescription drug:
About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services
is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For
more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation
is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest
business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx .