Kaizen News

The Rising Cost of Prescriptions

The Rising Cost of Prescriptions

Many patients complain about the high costs of their prescriptions. We always try to prescribe generics when possible, but sometimes the brand name actually is better. Other times, there are NO generic equivalents to treat certain illnesses. I believe the main cause of the increased cost is due to the hidden premium increases in your health insurance. Not only have drug deductibles gone up but many insurance plans have limited how much they are going to pay for drugs.

Many pharmaceutical companies have hardship programs where they will supply medications at a greatly reduced cost to the patient. Also, almost every branded drug utilizes various coupon and voucher programs to help pay for the medicine.

ALL patients can use the vouchers-which usually allow you to get a 30 day supple for free from any pharmacy. The coupon program works differently. There are many BRANDED MEDICATIONS that will cost the consumer only $5-$10/month BUT these programs are only valid for commercial plans only. This means that the government forbids the use of coupons for any patient on a federal insurance program-including MEDICARE. Also please be aware that NOT every pharmacy or insurance company will let you use these coupons and that ALL drug deductibles must be paid before the savings are passed along to the consumer.

Several years ago the sleeping pill, LUNESTA came with a $0 copay coupon but most patients could not use it because of insurance company formulary policies which require the patient to BUY a “preferred” drug instead.

ENBREL, which is a wonderful treatment for psoriasis would cost most commercial patients less than $25/month but seniors would have to either pay whatever MEDICARE PART D would cover or the entire price of almost $3000.

If you are upset about these policies, I would recommend that you call your Senator or Congressman and ask them why.