Impact of anthelmintic price increases on practice patterns of healthcare providers caring for immigrant and refugee populations in the United States Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • In the United States, prices of long-established, generic anthelmintic medications have markedly risen. In the past decade, albendazole and mebendazole have increased in price by > 8,000%, whereas praziquantel has increased by > 500%. To determine the effect of these price increases on the practice patterns of healthcare providers, we conducted a cross-sectional electronic survey of clinics in the United States that primarily care for immigrant and refugee patient populations. Among 32 clinics, 53.1% reported that price increases impacted how providers diagnosed and treated helminth infections. A third (34.4%) of clinics reported that price increases have left them unable to treat known helminth infections. Other ways in which price increases impacted practice patterns included prescribing anthelmintics other than albendazole, mebendazole, or praziquantel when possible (34.4%); avoiding screening asymptomatic patients for helminth infections (15.6%); advising patients to acquire medications from another country (15.6%) or the patient's home country (9.4%); reducing anthelmintic dosing regimens to fewer pills (9.4%); and advising patients to purchase medications on the Internet (6.3%). These findings suggest price increases have negatively impacted the diagnosis and treatment of helminth infections in this population, and have resulted in the inability to treat known helminth infections. These findings have significant implications for the morbidity and mortality of infected individuals, as well as for public health in the United States.

publication date

  • 2020