Pharmaceutical Company Coupons To Help Patients Buy Drugs May Raise Insurance Premiums
Drug companies use coupons to get patients to choose name-brand products -- which are often more expensive -- by subsidizing a patient's high copay. The practice hides a drug's true costs from consumers. NPR reports on consumers' drug choices and notes a Wall Street Journal investigation that "found that in the past year, drug manufacturers have broadly expanded their subsidy programs as copays and drug costs have risen. The Journal notes that copays do affect consumer behavior. Every 10 percent rise in copays seems to lead to a 6 percent decrease in spending on drugs."
Coupons also lead to rising premiums and puts consumers in a difficult position between huge insurance companies and drug companies. NPR notes: "Obama talks about choosing the blue pill over the red one, but the coupon cards make it hard to know which is which. It's uncomfortably clear that these cards are not the biggest weapons in this war. Drug consumers are" (Joffe-Walt, 10/20).