Talk about an article that seems a few years late to the party…
Anyways, I was reading a link from the PCMA today about an article on philly.com about copay cards. It stresses several points:
- The cards are typically only for 90-days.
- The cards get people started on brand drugs not generics.
- People are less likely to switch to generics after they use the brand.
- This costs people more money over time.
Let me give some quick thoughts here.
- The cards may typically be for only 90-days, but most people that drop off therapy or titrate to other strengths do so in the first 90-days so perhaps this is saving some money.
- Of course, it’s for brand drugs not generics. That’s the business model we’ve created in this country where generics are priced at pennies so there is no marketing to support those products. It’s the PBMs and pharmacies that do the marketing for generics since they are the ones making money here.
- I think it’s a fair generalization that people are less likely to switch, but this is the problem. If the drugs are the same (per the FDA), why is this an issue? Is it an educational issue. Or, is there really a difference?
- I’m not sure the consumer cost is the issue. That’s marketing 101. Don’t most consumers understand this issue that sales and coupons drive you to build loyalty often to higher priced products. I think the debate here needs to stay on the payer who pays 70-80% of the drug costs. They are the ones who really have an issue here since they don’t control the decision made in the market.
This one doesn’t seem to be going away, but I’m not seeing any net new information.