The treatment of hemophilia is expensive, with a new study showing that childhood hemophilia treatment accounts for a significant part of state Medicaid budgets.
Treatment costs for one childhood illness, hemophilia, may use up a big chunk of a state’s Medicaid budget, a new study out of California shows.
The researchers found that treatments for hemophilia — a rare, inherited disorder in which blood does not clot normally — accounted for the largest share of spending on outpatient drugs among publicly insured children in California with serious chronic illnesses.
The study “underscores the potential effect of new, expensive but [effective] pharmaceuticals on public insurance programs for children with chronic illness,” wrote a group led by Sonja Swenson of Stanford University.
Her team published the findings July 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers tracked 2010-2012 data from more than 34,300 publicly insured children and young adults under the age of 21 in California with serious chronic health problems.
Overall, outpatient pharmacy costs totaled almost $476 million, or 20 percent of total health care costs.
Costs per child for the study period varied widely: From just 16 cents for one patient to nearly a whopping $57 million for drugs for another, unnamed patient. Swenson said her team was “shocked” by the latter amount.
Hemophilia treatment took a big share of outpatient drug costs: 42 percent of spending, according to the study.
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