Hey, this is really interesting. You know those free drug samples people get from their doctors? There is a hidden cost: often those prescriptions are for high-priced brand-name drugs when less expensive generics are available, resulting in higher overall prescription prices, this doctor says, citing a University of Chicago Medical Center study.
Canandaigua, N.Y. —
Patients appreciate when a doctor offers free samples of a needed prescription, but is that courtesy really in a patient’s best interest?
There’s no question that free samples will save a patient some money up front, but in the long run, the patient may pay significantly more than is necessary to treat his or her condition.
A study conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center found that patients who receive free samples of brand-name drugs have significantly higher out-of-pocket prescription costs than those who do not. The reason is that patients continue to take the higher priced brand name medications that began as free samples even though there are often less expensive comparable alternatives, including generics.
For example, free samples of brand name Bystolic 5 mg to treat high blood pressure will initially save a patient some money. But once the sample is used up, refills will cost the patient the highest level Tier 3 copay for a month’s supply ($40 per month when the three-tier pharmacy copay structure is $10-$25-$40). More…
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.