Urology Experts Contribute to Study on Statewide Price Variation for Generic BPH Medications

January 16, 2021

Several members of the UPMC Department of Urology collaborated to publish research on statewide price variations for generic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) medications in Pennsylvania.
The doctors conducted this research to examine the geographic and pharmacy-type variation in costs for generic BPH medications in order to improve drug price transparency and reduce health disparities. Medical therapy for BPH can be expensive, therefore having significant implications for uninsured and underinsured patients.

They generated a 20% random sample of all pharmacies in Pennsylvania and queried each for the uninsured cash price of a 30-day prescription of tamsulosin 0.4mg daily, finasteride 5mg daily, oxybutynin immediate release 5mg TID and oxybutynin XL 10mg daily.

The primary objectives were to:

  • Identify price variation based on pharmacy type (i.e., big chain and independent).
  • Identify price variation between geographic regions (predetermined by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Database).

The doctors fit multivariable quantile regression models to test for an association between drug price and region after controlling for pharmacy type.

Among 575 retail pharmacies contacted, 473 responded (82% response rate). Research found that the median cash price was significantly higher for big chain pharmacies than for independent pharmacies for tamsulosin ($66 vs. $15), finasteride ($68 vs. $15), oxybutynin immediate release ($49 vs. $35), and oxybutynin XL ($79 vs. $31) (all p < 0.05).

When controlling for region, the median and 75th percentile price of all drugs was significantly higher for big chain pharmacies. When controlling for pharmacy type, regional variation was noted in all four drugs at the 75th percentile price and was greater for independent pharmacies.

The research concluded that, compared to independent pharmacies, big chain pharmacies charged significantly more for generic BPH medications to uninsured patients. However, independent pharmacies demonstrated more regional variation in their pricing.

Read more about this study on PubMed

Study authors include:

  • Anup A. Shah
  • Praveen Kumar
  • Ayodele G. Ogunmola
  • Omar Ayyash
  • Jonathan G. Yabes
  • Lindsay M. Sabik
  • Anobel Y. Odisho
  • Jathin Bandari
  • Liam C. Macleod
  • Benjamin J. Davies
  • Bruce L. Jacobs