Discount cards and coupons mask sky-high drug costs | PCMA: Brand drug 'copay coupons' raise health costs for employers, unions, and state governments by $32 billion | Poll: Nearly 60% oppose cutting Medicare to reduce deficit
January 25, 2013
PCMA SmartBrief
News for the PBM Industry

Featured Story
Discount cards and coupons mask sky-high drug costs
Prices on brand-name drugs were up more than 13% in September over the previous year, and drugmakers are increasingly developing treatments for rare diseases and pricing those drugs at hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient per year. Drugmakers increasingly offer discount cards and copay coupons to help patients afford expensive brand-name drugs, but commercial insurers bear the brunt of the costs -- a cycle that keeps health care spending high. The nation will pay an extra $32 billion on prescription drugs over the next 10 years unless the use of discount cards and coupons is halted, a PCMA study found. LearnVest (1/18)
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Legislative & Regulatory News
Poll: Nearly 60% oppose cutting Medicare to reduce deficit
Fifty-eight percent of Americans polled said Congress should find ways to reduce the deficit without cutting Medicare spending. Eighty-five percent favor getting "a better deal" from drugmakers for low-income seniors, and 59% said upper-income seniors should pay higher Medicare premiums. The poll was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Kaiser Health News/Capsules blog (1/24), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Washington Wire blog (1/24)
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FDA considers reclassification of hydrocodone-containing drugs
An FDA panel was set this week to consider reclassifying hydrocodone-containing products from Schedule III to Schedule II drugs. "Even if we change hydrocodone-containing products from Schedule III to Schedule II, it in no way jeopardizes access. What this means is that patients who might be able to go to their doctor every six months would now have to see their doctor every three months [to get a prescription]," said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. HealthDay News (1/24)
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PBM Industry News
Costco may get retail customers from new PBM
Costco's new pharmacy benefit plan is likely to drive more customers to the store's retail side, analysts say. Trefis (1/24)
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Drug Industry Spotlight
Physician education program reduces inappropriate prescribing
Physicians in Italy who went through an education program were less likely to prescribe unsafe drugs for their older patients than doctors who had not been through the program, a three-year study published in Drugs & Aging found. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/24)
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In youth we learn; in age we understand."
-- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach,
Austrian writer
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About PCMA
PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 216 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D. PCMA is dedicated to enhancing the proven tools and techniques pioneered by PBMs that generate savings and access for consumers and payors.

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