June 15th, 2012
Repealing Brand Drug 'Copay Coupons' Ban Increases Costs by $750 Million for Massachusetts Employers
The Wall Street Journal
If Massachusetts legislators vote to repeal the state ban on prescription brand drug “copay coupon” programs, costs for employers, unions, and state employee health programs would increase by $750 million over the next decade, according to research released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA).
This research was highlighted in a new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found copay coupons can increase out-of-pocket consumer costs and health insurance premiums.
Brand drug copay coupons induce insured consumers to choose higher-cost brands (despite higher copays) over generics and other, more affordable brands (despite lower copays.) These promotions target only those with prescription drug coverage, not the poor or uninsured (who don’t pay copays). Considered illegal kickbacks in federal health programs, copay coupons are banned in Medicare and Medicaid, but not in the commercial market.