Consumer Coalition Sues Drugmakers Over Coupon Programs
The lawsuit claims that these popular programs, which appear to save money for patients, actually increase costs and conceal information about the discounts from health plans.
The Associated Press: Consumer Group Sues 8 Drugmakers Over Drug Coupons
Eight major drugmakers are being sued by a consumer coalition claiming the companies' popular coupon programs, which lower patient co-payments for hundreds of brand-name prescription medicines, are illegal. Community Catalyst alleges the increasingly common coupons appear to save patients money but increase overall health care costs significantly and violate federal bribery laws by concealing information about the payments from health insurance plans (Johnson, 3/7).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Insurance Plans Sue Drug Companies Over Coupons
Coupons for drug co-payments are illegal and drive up long-term health-care costs for all, a consumer group and four trade-union health-insurance plans said Wednesday in announcing lawsuits against eight pharmaceutical companies. Drug companies use co-pay coupons to entice patients to stay with higher-cost brand-name drugs and not switch to lower-cost generics. Coupons reduce the consumer's out-of-pocket cost at the pharmacy counter, but the payment process keeps that information from the health insurer, which still pays the previously negotiated price to the drug company (Sell, 3/8).
In other news related to the drug industry -
The Associated Press: FDA Weighs Over-The-Counter Switch For Key Drugs
Some of the most widely used prescription drugs, including those to treat cholesterol and high blood pressure, could be available over the counter under a new proposal being weighed by government regulators. Food and Drug Administration officials said Wednesday they are considering waiving prescription requirements for certain drugs used to treat ailments like diabetes, asthma and migraine. Driving the move is a wave of computer technology, including touch-screen kiosks found in pharmacies, designed to help patients self-diagnose common diseases (Perrone, 3/7).