CVS Cuts Coverage of Dozens of Drugs in Exclusion Expansion

CVS Health Corp. will add 35 products to its lists of excluded drugs in 2017 and no longer cover some treatments for cancer and diabetes, buy in an aggressive move to favor lower-priced treatments and target what the company called “hyperinflation” of some other products.

The drug benefit manager will remove coverage for Novartis AG’s leukemia treatment Tasigna, see Medivation Inc.’s prostate cancer drug Xtandi, and Sanofi’s insulin Lantus, expanding the company’s strategy of excluding expensive products when alternatives are available. The total number of excluded drugs for 2017 will be 131, spokeswoman Carolyn Castel said Tuesday.

It’s the first time that brand-name cancer drugs have been taken off CVS’s standard formulary, Castel said in an e-mail.

The excluded drugs list also includes 10 that have had “hyperinflationary” price increases, the company said in a statement. For example, it will exclude coverage of Alcortin A gel, sold by closely held Novum Pharma LLC. CVS said that Alcortin’s price has increased by about 30-fold in the last three years.

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