Prescription drug prices: The system, in all its glory.

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Summary: Rob Lamberts, a family physician, wrote this useful piece over at his blog, “Musings of a Distractible Mind.” The money quote: “This incident is just one example of the terrible gaming that routinely occurs with the prices of drugs. There are plenty of others. Why, for example, do brand name medications continue having such […]

Insurers Are Refusing To Pay For Some Common Medications: NPR

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Summary: “Express Scripts and its rivals including CVS/Caremark and OptumRX manage prescription drug coverage for insurers and employers,” Alison Kodjak writes over on NPR. “They’re trying to spark price wars among drugmakers by refusing to pay for some brand-name medications unless they get a big discount. The result is that average costs for many drugs […]

Tips for shopping for prescription drugs: Consumer Reports

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Summary: We’ve written a lot on prescription drug pricing; here’s our prescriptions page. Consumer Reports took up the topic recently: “Millions of Americans have been hit with high drug costs within the last year. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center poll of 1,037 adults showed that a third of those who currently […]

That prescription coupon isn’t really clipping costs: Bloomberg Business

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

That prescription coupon isn’t really clipping costs: Bloomberg Business

“When Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ran a TV ad after this year’s Emmy Awards broadcast featuring actor Mario Lopez promoting its new antifungal toe treatment, Jublia, the spot drew some barbs,” Cynthia Koons and Robert Langreth write in Bloomberg Business. “But it’s also lured plenty of curious consumers who heeded the company’s invitation to visit the […]

Most prescribed drugs: Humira, Abilify, Enbrel, Crestor

Filed Under: Costs, Patients

Summary: Through June of this year, the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca) was the most prescribed branded drug in the United States, and the arthritis drug adalimumab (Humira, Abbott Laboratories) was the best-selling branded drug, according to the latest data from research firm IMS Health,” Megan Brooks reported in Medscape Medical News. Also in the […]

Buying prescription drugs from Canada: One woman’s story

  Summary: Buying medications by mail from Canada? You’re not alone. A friend from California explained how she started out on this path, and why she thinks this will save a lot of money — although, strictly speaking, the Food and Drug Administration considers the practice illegal, and has reportedly intercepted some shipments of medications […]

Insurance plans place all medications for some conditions in high-price tier

Filed Under: Costs

Summary: Extending insurance coverage to all, even those with serious or pre-existing conditions, was one of the promises of the Affordable Care Act. And yet conditions including high coinsurance and high co-pays have put treatment out of reach for insured people. Here’s a new analysis from Avalere Health saying that some insurance plans “place all […]

How managed care prescription pricing has worked to raise costs

Filed Under: Health plans, Patients

Summary: “The Center for Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) at the University of Michigan reports that until 2002, most people with employer-sponsored insurance that included prescription drug coverage were in plans with one or two formulary tiers. As of last year, nearly 25% of insured people were in plans with four or five tiers, and the […]

The mysterious case of the zigzag drug price: How much does irbesartan cost?

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

SUMMARY: It’s the mystery of the overnight skyrocketing drug price, in this case irbesartan, a blood-pressure drug. Prices can be all over the place, as you might have noticed. Here’s a case study, with a relentless Sherlock Holmes-type sleuth.     Jeanne PinderJeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The […]

How to shop smart for medications: A simple binder method

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

This post about how to buy medications thoughtfully as a smart consumer appeared on one of my online groups. I thought it was so wise that I asked the author if I could post it here, and she agreed. The writer is Moyra Phillips, Huntsville, Ala., who identifies herself as “a wife, mother, grandmother.” The […]