Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Disparities in State Medicaid Coverage of Tretinoin for Pigmentary Disorders Compared to Acne Vulgaris.

BACKGROUND: Melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) are common cosmetic dermatologic conditions that predominantly affect patients with skin phototypes III-VI. Comparing treatment coverage for these pigmentary disorders to treatment coverage for acne vulgaris may demonstrate disparities in insurance coverage for diseases that primarily affect patients of color.

OBJECTIVE: Describe differences in Medicaid coverage for topical tretinoin for melasma and PIH vs. acne vulgaris in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study of Medicaid insurance plans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted between February 1 and 28, 2023. Data was collected from online publicly available preferred drug lists, prior authorization criteria, and email/telephone inquiries. Information was collected regarding coverage restrictions, including age restrictions, diagnostic restrictions, preferred drug status, and prior authorization requirements.

RESULTS: Complete coverage data for all three clinical indications was retrieved from 30 (58.8%) states; partial coverage data for acne vulgaris was retrieved from 16 (31.4%) states; no coverage data was retrieved from 5 (9.8%) states. Of states reporting coverage data, topical tretinoin is covered in 45 (97.8%) states for acne vulgaris and 10 (33.3%) states for melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. There was decreased Medicaid coverage of topical tretinoin for acne vulgaris compared to melasma and PIH (P<0.05).  Conclusion: There is differential Medicaid coverage for acne vulgaris compared to pigmentary disorders which disproportionately affect patients of color. Greater advocacy is required to ensure equal treatment for conditions that affect racial minority patients. J Drugs Dermatol. 2024;23(6):e151-e153.     doi:10.36849/JDD.8069e &nbsp.

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