Template:PhysicsNavigation A drug coupon is a coupon intended to help consumers save money on pharmaceutical drugs. Within the United States they are typically offered by drug companies or passed to consumers via doctors and pharmacists, though some are can be obtained online. Pharmacies also give out coupons, though these are more likely to be for over-the-counter drugs.
Drug coupons as pharmaceutical marketing
Mass pharmaceutical marketing is controversial, but extremely prevalent in the United States.
Since the late 1970s, direct-to-patient marketing of prescription drugs has become prevalent. Many patients will inquire about, or even demand to receive, a medication they have seen advertised on television.
Pharmaceutical companies employ sales people (often called 'drug reps' or, an older term, 'detail men') to market directly and personally to physicians and other healthcare providers. Drug coupons are one of the marketing tactics pharmaceutical companies employ.
Drug coupons are commonly offered for new products to stimulate demand or ameliorate high co-pays for non-formulary (non-preferred products) as a way to level the playing field and remove the disincentive for using a drug that is not covered by insurance.
In an effort to avoid unregulated resale of drugs, the Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1988 banned the traffic or counterfeiting of redeemable drug coupons. Because of this, the coupons are carefully regulated by both the Food and Drug Administration and the pharmaceutical companies themselves.
Most drug coupons are printed by consumers using their personal computer and printer. The drug coupons can work in a variety of ways, including lowering the price, offering a free trial, giving free samples, and copay reduction. Some drug coupons have one time value, while other drug coupons may be reused.
Besides getting drug coupons from the doctors and from the Internet, some drug manufacturers fulfill the consumer to requests by telephone. Drug manufacturers send the coupon to the patient's home.
Generic drug companies rarely offer coupons, as their product often already costs lower than the brand drugs, though insurance companies occasionally offer discounts on generic drugs.
Medicare Part D and drug coupons
Medicare was designed by the U.S. government in 1965 to help senior citizens and the disadvantaged help afford health care. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) put Medicare Part D into effect on January 1, 2006 expanded Medicare benefits to include subsidized prescription products for Medicare beneficiaries in the United States.
Drug coupons may not be used for prescription products paid for in full or in part by government sponsored insurance such as Medicare Part D, Medicaid, MediCal Tricare, etc. However if the patient is in the so-called Medicare Part D donut hole and is paying cash for his medicine he may use coupons.
Products Likely To Have Coupons
Coupons are prevalent in product categories where there is a lot of competition such as dermatology products, lipid modifying agents and the medical treatment of opthmological conditions such as glaucoma.
Coupons for oral or topical agents can provide significant savings, sometimes as much as several hundred dollars per year.
Coupons (usually in the form of co-pay assistance programs) for specialty pharmaceutical products such as monoclonal antibody derived agents such as TNF blockers for instance Amevive® (alefacept), Enbrel (etanercept) can be worth several thousands of dollars per year.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as of 2008, was planning a study to see if coupons make patients overlook drug risks and side-effects in their effort to save money. Groups such as the Prescription Access Litigation Project, which works to lower prescription drug costs, are against their usage completely, saying that the allure to switch from a lower costing generic drug for a brand drug because of a coupon can lose money in the long run.
Prescription drug coupons are against the law in the State of Massachusetts unless the patient pays the entire cost of the prescription in cash. This policy has produced a backlash from consumers who want them.
At a recent hearing some Massachusetts lawmakers articulated their desire to legalize prescription drug coupons in order to assist people who take drugs that have no generic equivalent.
- ↑ "Milestones in Food and Drug Law History". Federal Drug Administration. April 30, 2009. http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WhatWeDo/History/Milestones/ucm081229.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kritz, Francesca (December 3, 2007). "Check out drug coupons, then check bottom line - Many consumers don't know that deals are available. But generics are often still cheaper.". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/03/health/he-coupons3. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- ↑ Murphy, Matt (November 29, 2009). "Lawmakers push drug coupons.". Lowell Sun. http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_13889253. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- List of Drug Coupons Arranged Alphabetically By Therapeutic Class
- AARP Article Regarding Drug Coupons
- LA Times Article on drug coupons
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