Pandemic triggers big swings in prescription drug use

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This undated image provided by Express Scripts, shows Dr. Glen Stettin, Sr. Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer at Express Scipts. Express Scripts, a top prescription benefit manager with over 100 million customers, saw big jumps in people getting three-month refills via mail delivery, as people with chronic health problems stocked up early in the crisis. Refills jumped 18% between mid-March and mid-April. (Express Scripts via AP)

(AP) – As most of the nation hunkered down amid the coronavirus pandemic, visits to doctor offices and outpatient clinics plunged.

That’s helping cause major swings in prescription drug use.

Express Scripts, a top prescription benefit manager, saw big jumps in people getting three-month refills of medicines for chronic health problems. Then prescription orders started dropping, partly from all the patients who’d just stocked up.

Other people lost jobs and health insurance, or avoided medical facilities for fear of catching the virus. Dr. Glen Stettin, who oversees formulary management at Express Scripts, discussed some of the trends and causes.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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