Wait a second (prescription drugs)

Filed Under: Uncategorized

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.

By Dr. Joel Owerbach

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…