A Clever Way to Get Patients to Buy More Expensive Drugs

Last month…Pfizer introduced a new card that can reduce the co-pay on its blockbuster drug Lipitor to $4 a month, a savings of up to $50. That brings the out-of-pocket cost in line with what consumers might pay at Wal-Mart for a generic version of a competing cholesterol-lowering drug… [However,] the coupons are just marketing gimmicks that are leading to an overall increase in health care costs. That is because they circumvent the system of higher co-pays on costlier drugs that insurers use to encourage consumers to use less expensive products.

Read more on the true cost of co-pay coupons.

Comments (6)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    This is illegal for Medicare and Medicaid patients. I wonder why insurers don’t write a prohibition against kickbacks into their contracts with PBMS; who would also need to write the same prohibition against kickback into their contracts with pharmacies?

  2. Bruce says:

    Devon, everybody’s got to make a buck somehow.

  3. Greg says:

    Clever, but why create such attention for themselves when they are the likely target of any new round of health reform.

  4. Ken says:

    Greg, they should be the target of the next round of health reform.

  5. Joe Barnett says:

    The natural response to this phenomenon is to say, “shut it down!” But it is merely a consequence of the current insurance payment system, which is the cause of cost-increasing behavior by patients and drug providers. Suppose that, instead of reimbursing the pharmacy for the drug, the insurer gave patients dollar-denominated coupons to use on their prescription drugs — allowing them to turn in unused coupons for rewards or deposits to an HSA/FSA? The outcome would be much different.

  6. Rudi says:

    @philsnk quit talking as if music has fukcing laws. it doesn’t. and it doesn’t have to have proper song structure, lyrics or singing to be music. idk how you think this is all sound either when there are actual notes being played not just random incoherant noises.