Express Scripps adds new drugs to its exclusion list

Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the country, will exclude 85 drugs from insurance coverage for 2017, according to Reuters.

The St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager has been excluding treatments from its coverage since 2014 due to concerns over high drug costs. Express Scripts said the exclusion process allows the company to better negotiate lower prices with the drugmakers and expects to save customers around $1.8 billion in 2017, compared to the $1.3 billion in savings from this year.

Newly excluded drugs for 2017 include Zyclara — a skin cream that costs more than $1,100 per tube — produced by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Meyers Squibb's arthritis drug Orencia and Eli Lily's psoriasis treatment Tatz.

A handful of drugs will be removed from the exclusion list and available for coverage including Pfizer's arthritis drug Xeljanz and GlaxoSmithKline's asthma treatments Arnuity Ellipta and Flovent Diskus.

Epclusa and Harvoni, Gilead Science's hepatitis C treatments that made headlines for their high costs, will remain on the exclusion list for 2017.

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