US Health Policy and Prescription Drug Coverage for FDA-Approved Obesity Medications
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CitationGomez, Gricelda. 2017. US Health Policy and Prescription Drug Coverage for FDA-Approved Obesity Medications. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Medical School.
AbstractOver the past 20 years men and women suffering from obesity has risen dramatically and is now the most prevalent chronic disease in the United States. Obesity-related health care spending is estimated at $147 billion annually. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gave alerted policymakers and elected officials the ability to tackle this epidemic public health, Medicare, and Medicaid programs. However, pharmacotherapy for the treatment of obesity, recommended, as adjuncts to lifestyle and behavior modification have not been included, despite their evidence-based efficacy. We investigated six medications, approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of obesity, among Medicare, Medicaid, and ACA – established state marketplace health plans in 34 states. Among 136 marketplace health insurance plans, 11% had some form of drug coverage for weight loss medications within only 9 states. Medicare prescription drug coverage policy strictly excludes all weight loss medications, and only 7 states have some coverage for these medications to treat obesity. Obesity requires an integrated approach and strategy to combat its public health threat to Americans. National and state health policies must enact their leverage for broader coverage of pharmacotherapy in order to make a significant contribution to fighting this complex and chronic disease.
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