Who know? This shocked me when I heard it.
I recently took a call from a human resources worker at a company. One of their new hires had a medication that he took daily and the HR lady needed to know how much it was going to cost. Why? Because the cost of insuring that patient was going to affect whether they could afford to renew the insurance for their company. The story had a happy ending because I was able to tell the HR lady that the medicine would be $1,500 a month to cover, not the $45,000 a month they had feared, but what if it had been that much? A talented, skilled employee might have been let go or might have had to go to an insurance exchange because the company couldn’t afford to keep him insured.
Sometimes medications are expensive for a good reason – because the medications are highly effective, expensive to make, or for many other reasons. However, sometimes doctors will choose newer, more expensive medications because a drug rep said so, or because they aren’t thinking about the cost. It’s definitely worth a chat next time you see your doctor, and another chat with your insurance company. There very well may be a good medication that has been out longer, has had more time for the price to drop, and will work just fine for you! Keep in mind that most doctors aren’t aware of the cost of medications, or what your drug coverage is.
Most of the time, the best place to start is by calling your prescription insurance company and talking with one of their pharmacists. Working with the customer service representative, they can tell you what lower cost alternatives are, price them out, so you can then ask the doctor if a change would be appropriate. I’ve seen this save people many thousands of dollars without sacrificing any quality.
Personally, when I take medication, I try to ask for older, tried and true medications that are well understood and well studied. I let someone else be the high-paying guinea pig.