As Drug Cost Battle Is Waged, Patients Could Lose Access To Favored Medications
Prescription management organizations are trying to spark a price war between pharmaceutical companies, but patients could be forced to switch to a different brand of medication in the process. In other pharmaceutical news, drug shortages in ERs have spiked.
Fight To Lower Drug Prices Forces Some To Switch Medication
Express Scripts and its rivals including CVS/Caremark and OptumRX manage prescription drug coverage for insurers and employers. They're trying to spark price wars among drug makers by refusing to pay for some brand-name medications unless they get a big discount. The result is that average costs for many drugs are falling. At the same time, consumers are being forced to change medications, sometimes to brands that don't work as well for them. (Kodjak, 1/25)
The Washington Post:
Drug Shortages In American ERs Have Increased More Than 400 Percent
Of the nearly 1,800 drug shortages reported between 2001 and 2014, nearly 34 percent were used in emergency rooms. More than half (52.6 percent) of all reported shortages were of lifesaving drugs, and 10 percent of shortages affected drugs with no substitute. The most common drugs on shortage are used to treat infectious diseases, relieve pain, and treat patients who have been poisoned. (Blakemore, 1/22)