Our last post highlighted the end-of-the-month release of the long-awaited generic version of Lipitor, the most popular cholesterol-lowering drug in America. Brand-name Lipitor, manufactured by drug giant Pfizer, has been one of the key contributors to American’s high drug bills for the past 15 years. A generic version will mean massive savings for some and basic affordability for many.
Last week, however, the New York Times shared that Pfizer (unsurprisingly) wants to block access to that affordable generic. Pfizer is going to offer “large discounts for benefit managers that block the use of generic versions of Lipitor” – “When patients submit a prescription for a generic version of Lipitor, they are to be given Lipitor instead.” So, those covered by the benefit managers who accept the discount will end up paying the same high co-pay, despite the availability of a lower priced drug!
These tactics by the largest drug manufacturer to keep drug prices higher are disappointing but not surprising. After all, in addition to lobbying the U.S. government to prevent safe personal drug importation, it funds programs to scare Americans away from buying its own medication at a lower price from Canada and other countries.
Pfizer’s latest move seems to only affect Americans with health insurance who, under the Pfizer/benefit manager deal, would pay $25 monthly co-pays (instead of $10 per month) – that’s $75 for a three month supply. That’s a stark contrast to Americans without health insurance who can pay $535.00 at a local CVS in New York City. By comparing prices of verified online pharmacies at PharmacyChecker.com, the uninsured may at least knock their monthly brand name Lipitor costs to $85.70.
Fortunately, due to the economics of generic drug competition, generic Lipitor prices will eventually offer great savings to the uninsured and we’ll be keeping you updated as those new products come to market.
Tagged with: brand-name, Cholesterol, co-pays, CVS, generic drugs, health insurance, insured, Lipitor, New York City, New York Times, PBM, Pfizer, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacychecker.com, uninsured, United States
A new report by the Commonwealth Fund, from their 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, shows that 48 million Americans, ages 19-64, did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2010, up from 29 million in 2001 – a 66% increase. The study includes both insured and uninsured Americans but does not include children and seniors. The study indicates that the recession has greatly exacerbated the national crisis of prescription non-adherence (skipping medications), as nine out of 16 million Americans who have lost their job have also lost their health insurance.
It is difficult to estimate the sickness and even death that has resulted from so many millions of Americans not taking their prescribed medication due to cost. As evidenced by the new report, the situation is particularly dire for uninsured Americans with chronic medical conditions, as 27 million “skipped doses or did not fill a prescription for their condition because of the cost.” (more…)
Tagged with: Affordable Care Act, Biennial Health Insurance Survey, chronic, Commonwealth Fund, consumer guide, health insurance, Medicare, Medicare Drug Plans, prescription costs, skipping medicine, United States
Just over one year ago we launched this blog with a post called Drug Price S.O.S. – 120 Million Americans Struggle to Afford Medicine. That number came from a 2008 Harvard School of Public Health study showing that 4 in 10 Americans have trouble affording their prescription drugs. Sadly, the situation has gotten worse.
As reported on MSNBC.com and Reuters, new information released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics shows a dramatic increase in the number of American adults who are unable to afford healthcare. From 1997 to 2009 the precentage of Americans not taking their medications due to cost nearly doubled from – increasing from 4.8 to 8.4%. The earlier Harvard study mentioned above shows 40 percent of Americans struggling with costs; that could mean pill splitting, skipping doses, taking alternatives, or simply going without needed medication. The recent government statistics are clear about how many Americans don’t take their medication due to cost: 25 million! [8.4% of 300 million (the U.S. population) = 25 million]. (more…)
Tagged with: brand name drugs, Drug Prices, Harvard, health insurance, MSNBC, Online Pharmacies, personal drug importation, pill splitting, prescription abandonment, prescriptions, recession, Reuters, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States