Hormonal, respiratory tract, antiviral, and immunological agents are among the most frequently prescribed brand name and specialty drugs in California. Big sellers are AbbVie’s thyroid hormone, Synthroid; Teva’s bronchospasm inhaler, ProAir; Gilead’s Truvada, which reduces the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex; and Humira, AbbVie’s anti-inflammatory injectable pen.

The best selling drugs are listed in the California Department of Insurance’s first prescription drug cost transparency report. It shows commercial health insurers spent more than $1.2 billion on prescription drugs during the 2017 calendar year. The transparency report is required pursuant to SB 17, a controversial bill targeting prescription drug costs that California lawmakers enacted in 2017.

In its first report, nine insurers complied with the state’s new mandate: Aetna, Anthem, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, Health Net, Kaiser, National Health Insurance Co., Nippon Life Insurance Co., and UnitedHealthcare.

Below are the top selling brand and specialty drugs listed in the report.

The 25 Most Frequently Prescribed Brand Name Drugs:

  1. Synthroid – hormonal agents, thyroid
  2. Proair – respiratory tract agents
  3. Ventolin – respiratory tract agents
  4. Vyvanse – central nervous systems agents
  5. Lo Loestrin Fe – hormonal agents, stimulant/replacement/modifying (sex hormones/modifiers)
  6. Nuvaring – hormonal agents – sex hormones/modifiers
  7. OneTouch Revolution – blood glucose regulators
  8. Armour thyroid – hormonal agents, stimulant/replacement/modifying (thyroid)
  9. Advair – respiratory tract agents
  10. Adderall – central nervous system agents
  11. Cialis – genitourinary agents
  12. Humalog – blood glucose regulators
  13. Bystolic – cardiovascular agents
  14. Symbicort – respiratory tract agents
  15. Qvar – respiratory tract agents
  16. Xarelto – blood products
  17. Dexilant – gastrointestinal agents
  18. Invokana – blood glucose regulators
  19. Januvia - blood glucose regulators
  20. Lantus Solostar - blood glucose regulators
  21. Flualgia – immunological agents
  22. Viagra – genitourinary agents
  23. Concerta – central nervous system agents
  24. Lyrica – anticonvulsants
  25. Suprep bowel prep – gastrointestinal agents

The 25 Most Frequently Prescribed Specialty Drugs:

  1. Truvada – antivirals
  2. Humira – immunological agents
  3. Humalog – blood glucose regulators
  4. Victoza – blood glucose regulators
  5. Androgel – hormonal agents – sex/hormones/modifiers
  6. Trulicity – blood glucose regulators
  7. Lialda – inflammatory bowel disease agents
  8. Enbrel – immunological agents
  9. Epinephrine – cardiovascular agents
  10. Suprep bowel pre – gastrointestinal agents
  11. Latuda – antipsychotics
  12. Novolog – blood glucose regulators
  13. Genvoya – antivirals
  14. Cialis – genitourinary agents
  15. Viagra – genitourinary agents
  16. Viread - antivirals
  17. Stelara – immunological agents
  18. Triumeq – antivirals
  19. Atripla – antivirals
  20. Descovy – antivirals
  21. Copaxone – immunological agents
  22. Relpax – antimigraine agents
  23. Tivicay – antivirals
  24. Mesalamine – inflammatory bowel disease agents
  25. Fluarix quadrivalent – immunological agents

Stephanie Hoops is a Senior Analyst with Decisoin Resources Group. Follow Stephanie @StephHoopsDRG

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