Lowering Drug Costs

By Ryan Kelly –

I think we can all agree that prescription drug prices are often too high.  Of course, there are several key reasons why this is the case: 1) research, 2) litigation defense and payout, 3) shareholder profits, among several others.

So, how will we work to lower these drug prices?

First, it involves leadership.  Recently President Trump delivered a speech in which is called for a lowering of drug prices, whether voluntary or forced.  Being the free-market person that President Trump is, it’s likely that the “behind the scenes work” would involve incentives to companies for lowering the cost.  For patients, though, this could be very positive.

A second effort underway currently is with prescription discount cards.  One that the MRHA uses as a partner is Mississippi Drug Card.  This card is loaded with pre-negotiated pricing that helps patients to lower their burden.  These prices are often competitive to those offered with insurance on many prescription types.  Another unique card is offered by individual pharmaceutical companies.  These cards, or vouchers, will entitle beneficiaries to receive steep discounts on drugs at the counter.  One such from Astra Zeneca, for instance, can be used with 340(b) pricing on diabetes medications like Farxiga, Xigduo XR, and Qtern to allow a patient to receive medication at no cost.  But, these cards cannot be used alongside government-funded insurance plans (Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare).

We look forward to seeing more efforts on how to reduce the cost burden of prescription drugs for our members.  At the moment, it looks like the tide is starting to turn.


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