August 24, 2009

Healthcare company turns to experimental drug to reduce costs

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Washington state’s largest Medicaid contractor, Molina Healthcare, has been marketing a not-yet-approved synthetic hormone shot to  prevent recurring — and grossly expensive — premature deliveries, writes Kyung M. Song of The Seattle Times.InvestigateWest › Edit Post — WordPress

Preterm and complicated births, which are on the rise, have been identified as one of the healthcare company’s largest expenses. For two years, Molina has been aggressively promoting 17P, a man-made injectable hormone that mimics a woman’s natural progesterone and has been shown to decrease premature births by one-third, according to a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study. While doctors can prescribe it, most health plans do not cover it, and it has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The efforts have been financially beneficial to the national company, which pays for more than 10,000 births each year in Washington state. Taxpayers may want to take notice, too, considering that the majority of the state’s Molina clients are enrolled in Washington’s Medicaid program, which provides health-related funding for low-income individuals and covers the costs of nearly half of Washington’s births every year.

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