There is good news on the horizon with respect to many popular prescription drugs; they are about to get cheaper. Prescription drug expenses have increased from 10% of the overall cost of health care in 2000 to 22% in 2010. This increase in drug costs are a result of many factors which include an aging population, intense direct to consumer drug marketing, increased demand, a willingness by the providers to write a prescription for malpractice protection, and the FDA exclusive rights to market a drug at a premium price for a set period of time. These patents promote a balance between new drug innovations and generic competition but can be a “tough pill to swallow” for employers trying to reign in drug card costs.
Among the major drugs on the list for the next year include:
• Lipitor, the most popular cholesterol drug, goes generic in two months
• Solodyn, used to treat bacterial infections, November
• Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia, October
• Lexapro, used to treat depression, March, 2012
• Provigil, used to treat sleep problems, April, 2012
• Plavix, an antiplatelet drug which prevents blood clots, May, 2012
• Singulair, an Asthma drug, August, 2012
There is no clear indication how much cheaper the generic drugs will be within the next six months but good news is on the horizon. A 20mg prescription for Lipitor costs $186.00, 75mg of Plavix runs $215, 10mg Singulair is $182.00 and Zyprexa runs more than $400 all for a 30-day supply. If history repeats itself we can look no further than Prozac, the wonder drug of the 90s which at one time sold for $200 per month is now $16 in the generic form.
Helping your employees understand how to maximize their drug card not only saves the patient money, but softens the blow on your group health insurance experience which has been dominated by prescription drug runaway expenses during the past ten years. For more information concerning how to lower your health care costs, please do not hesitate to give us a call.