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updated: 7/3/2014 9:29 AM

Express Scripts cuts payments for compounded medications

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, is dramatically scaling back its coverage of compounded medications, saying most of the custom-mixed formulas are ineffective or overpriced.

The company, which manages prescriptions for 90 million Americans, plans to drop coverage of 1,000 drug ingredients commonly found in compounded medications.

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Express Scripts says the move will cut wasteful spending and lower its customers' compounded drug costs by 95 percent.

But the coverage change has prompted a swift pushback from compounding pharmacists, who argue that the cuts will deprive patients of crucial medications that are not available as traditional manufactured drugs. A spokesman for the pharmacists says similar efforts to curb coverage are in the works from several other pharmacy benefit providers and health insurers.

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