Prescriptions stuffed for antiviral drugs have been up 314% within the final three months of 2022, in comparison with final yr, new research reveals.
The info was printed final week by Evernorth, a subsidiary of Cigna. The Evernorth Analysis Institute examined pharmacy claims knowledge for greater than 16 million folks to conduct the examine.
Flu season usually lasts from September to August. Within the twelfth week of the 2022-2023 flu season, there have been 1,093 members per 1 million filling prescriptions for antiviral drugs. Throughout the identical interval final yr, there have been 264 members per 1 million. Data from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reveals that the variety of flu vaccines distributed within the U.S. is up to now decrease within the 2022-2023 season, in comparison with the 2021-2022 season and the 2020-2021 season.
“Our analysis signifies that extra persons are getting sick with the flu earlier on this season, and that their signs are extreme sufficient to warrant a health care provider’s go to and a prescription whereas flu vaccination charges are decrease than earlier years,” stated Urvashi Patel, vice chairman of the Evernorth Analysis Institute, stated in an e mail.
Youngsters have a better want for flu drugs, in comparison with different age teams, the examine additionally discovered.
“The upper prevalence might be a results of mother and father and guardians being extra more likely to search medical consideration for his or her dependents,” Patel stated within the report. “Adults themselves could not all the time search medical consideration when they’re sick, significantly if their signs are gentle.”
Location additionally performs a job, in accordance with Evernorth. Southern states have a better prevalence of antiviral remedy utilization, with 1,639 members per 1 million filling prescriptions for antiviral remedy within the twelfth week of the flu season, in comparison with 845 within the Midwest, 927 within the Northeast and 708 within the West. This correlates with decrease flu vaccination charges within the South, the researchers stated. Southern states have a excessive rural inhabitants, which frequently struggles to entry vaccines.
Moreover, use of flu antiviral drugs varies by race and ethnicity, with increased utilization amongst folks in areas with the “most social wants,” the report stated. That is in line with different research that reveals Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native populations have increased charges of hospitalization and admission to intensive care items for the flu, in comparison with White folks.
Primarily based on these findings, employers and payers should play a job in encouraging folks to get vaccinated for the flu, Patel stated.
“One of the best protection now we have towards flu is vaccination. We suggest employers and well being plans encourage and make it simple for his or her members to get vaccinated, corresponding to via training, selling well being incentives, and internet hosting on-site flu vaccine clinics,” she stated in an e mail.
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