Days’ Supply Considerations for Eye Medications

PBM audits regularly target eye medications looking to recoup on claims for incorrect days’ supply or early refills. For this reason, it is important that pharmacies are both aware and have a proactive plan to ensure appropriate billing and documentation. As with all prescriptions, the day supply is a function of quantity dispensed and daily dose; however, there are a few additional considerations that may impact what days’ supply is correct.

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PBMs each have their own drops per mL estimates for eye drops that are published in Provider Manuals and vary from 15-20 drops per mL for solutions and 12-20 drops per mL for suspensions (or emulsions). There is no industry accepted conversion for gel or ointment products.

In addition to the mathematical days’ supply calculation, pharmacies must also consider the individual product beyond use date as specified by the manufacturer. In general, eye drop products are considered to be safe to use until the printed-on expiration date; however, there are a few products with specified beyond use dates (e.g., Xalatan® is 42 days). Pharmacies can visit DailyMed for medication information, including How Supplied/Storage and Handling requirements under Section 16 of the drug label information or review product labeling included inside the box. We encourage LTC pharmacies to review our June 2022 Newsline article, Beyond-Use Date vs. Nursing Home Storage Policy – Avoid this Recoupment Trap! for additional comments related to nursing home policies.

Additional considerations include if the patient has an antibiotic or steroid product with a specific treatment duration such as use for 10 days, then stop or if the patient is having cataract surgery separately on each eye and the prescriber wants the patient to discard the bottle used on the first eye and get a refill for the second eye for infection control purposes.

PAAS Tips:

  • Login to the PAAS Member Portal under “Days Supply Charts” to find the most current version of PAAS’ Eye Drop Chart with major PBM Drops per mL conversions
  • If billing eye drops for a PBM not listed on the PAAS chart, PAAS suggests using 20 drops per mL for solutions and 15 drops per mL for suspensions
  • A quantity of “1” or “one bottle” on a prescription should be interpreted as the smallest package size
  • PAAS suggests eye drop products NOT be included on LTC cycle fill or retail medication synchronization programs, and only refilled upon patient request

Eric Hartkopf, PharmD