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Rx Coupons Not A Long-term Bargain

09/10/13

  11:56:31 am, by MedBen5   , 262 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Rx Coupons Not A Long-term Bargain

Drugs

MedBen pharmaceutical plans encourage the use of generic equivalents whenever possible. Such medicines contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts, and are sold at a much lower cost.

Understandably, brand-name drugmakers would prefer that patients continue to stick to the pricier originals, and have employed various means to spur loyalty. One such method – offering coupons – has grown in popularity of late. But do such incentives really save the patient money?

A new analysis suggests that even with coupons, generics are still the better deal in the long run. According to Pharmalot, assistant professors from Harvard and Yale reviewed 374 brand-name offers – typically for chronic conditions, with a median savings of $60 – and found that lower-cost generic alternatives were available 58% of the time, while an FDA-approved therapeutic equivalent existed for 8% of the drugs.

“Despite the short-term savings achievable with coupons, they do not offset higher, long-term costs, because they’re nearly always time-delimited,” wrote the authors of the analysis. “Once a coupon program ends, patients with chronic disease face co-payments for these brand-name medications that are higher than for those generic alternatives.”

The authors also correctly noted that the coupons don’t offer true savings, because insurers still have to pay the higher price of the medications – and those extra costs are ultimately reflected in member premiums.

MedBen encourages pharmacy plan members to take advantage of an exclusive online Rx datbase. By logging on to MedBen Access and clicking on “My Rx", patients can enter drug names and see their retail costs, and check if lower-cost alternatives are available.

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