Mar 09, 2019
Does the evidence support Exparel’s high price tag?
A health system in the Northwest was alarmed to discover a 7% annual increase in spend for anesthetics used for postoperative analgesia, as well as wide variation in preference among physicians.
Lumere’s review of 100+ studies did not find strong evidence that Exparel led to better outcomes than the less costly pain relief analgesics Bupivacaine or Ropivacaine in total knee/hip arthroplasty and most gastrointestinal surgeries.
Specifically the evidence showed:
Analysis of the system’s spend and utilization data showed that procedures in which Exparel lacked differentiation accounted for the majority of utilization. To facilitate change, Lumere provided physician-level analysis and evidence to drive physician discussions.
Restricting Exparel utilization in most orthopedic and gastrointestinal surgeries will yield a projected $980,000 in annual savings — 85% off a base spend of $1.2M — without negatively impacting patient outcomes.
annual savings in Exparel spend
reduction in spend through appropriate usage
impact on outcomes
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