Drug Makers Profit From Combination Drugs

In recent years, drug makers have profited from creating combination pills that are made at a fraction of the list price.

In an article featured on The Health Care Blog, Devon Herrick writes:

“It may sound a little odd that a drug maker is reformulating cheap, over-the-counter drugs into combination pills costing $17 to $25 per tablet. The equivalent ingredients are available over the counter for $0.17 cents to $0.40 cents.”

In this article, Herrick mentions two specialty drugs, Duexis and Vimovo, which are created by combining heartburn medications and common NSAIDs. Both of these drugs could be purchased separately at a fraction of the price. However, most consumers do not know that this is an option.

Additionally, it is important to note that NSAIDs were previously removed from CVS’s formulary list. By withholding this information, pharmaceutical companies were prohibiting consumers from knowing what products were in that class and if there were substitutes available.

As drug prices continue to rise, it is important to understand that there are other options available to avoid spending exorbitant amounts on the drugs you need. In the updated 2017 formulary list, NSAIDs are listed, leaving us to question why they were removed in the first place.

Read the full article, How a Simple Little Pill Ended Up Costing 1000 Percent More Than Its Ingredients, from The Health Care Blog for more information. Also, please take a look at CVS’s 2017 Standard Formulary List of Removals and Updates.

The Investigation Continues for Two Former Heritage Executives

It appears as though more abuse in the pharmaceutical industry is brought to light as two former executives from Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc. are charged with conspiring to fix prices.

Former chief executive and former president of Heritage were said to be conspiring with competitors to fix prices of drugs used to treat diabetes. In the process, these two individuals profited from those who were sick and in need of the antibiotic doxycycline hyclate and glyburide.

The complete disregard for the best interest of the general public appears to be catching up with those who help to create abuse in the health care system.

It is said best by Bernie Sanders, who was quoted in a recent article from The Wall Street Journal:

“At a time when one out of five Americans cannot afford the medication they need, we must do everything we can to end the greed and illegal behavior of the drugmakers”

As the investigation continues, it appears as though these executives are expected to receive more than a slap on their wrists for this despicable act.  For more information on this topic, please refer the article, Two Former Heritage Executives Charged With Generic Drug Price-Fixing, from The Wall Street Journal.

The Important Roles of Health Care Risk Managers and Insurance Brokers

Health care risk managers and health insurance brokers are often overlooked by the general public as a critical part of the health care industry. However, both of these positions are extremely important to maintain a safe and trusted health system.

To start, health care risk managers hold a dynamic profession where they perform a variety of tasks including risk financing, claims management, and even evaluating psychological and human factors of health care. This profession is extremely important to help reduce financial loss by monitoring risk management plans for companies.

Just like health care, there is not a one-size-fit-all risk management solution for all organizations. Each needs their own personalized attention to find innovative solutions that help reduce financial loss.

With this in mind, it is important that your company seeks a risk manager to monitor risk within your current health care plan.

On the other hand, insurance brokers hold different responsibilities. Most commonly known as insurance agents, brokers act as middlemen between insurance companies and buyers like yourself. These professionals help you to determine the best health care plan for you and your company to ensure that your needs are met.

Although brokers have a more apparent hand in the industry, both risk managers and brokers open the door to a more transparent health care system. Both positions hold lengthy knowledge about the puzzling landscape of health care that allows them to act as trusted advisors to those outside of the industry.

With great power comes great responsibility. BCR prides itself in navigating the complicated health industry to find the best companies to work with in terms of transparency, integrity and overall efficiency.

One-Size-Fits-All Health Care is Not the Best Option

Many companies provide a one-size-fits-all approach to health care, allowing full-time employees to opt in to the employer-sponsored coverage. These plans generally cover all “medically necessary” care, which includes expensive procedures and services that might never be used.

Although providing all inclusive coverage may appear to be an easy solution to offering health coverage for your company, it is important to recognize that this approach might not be as effective as you think.

To start, not all employees are the same and the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for everyone. Nicholas Bagley and Austin Frant comment on the topic in an article written for The New York Times, stating:

“This one-size-fits-all approach to insurance coverage disproportionately hurts low-income people, many of whom might reasonably prefer to devote their scarce dollars to housing or their children’s education.”

Additionally, companies throughout the healthcare industry are rewarded for making procedures more expensive rather than more effective and cost friendly. By offering this all-inclusive care, you and your employees end up paying for care and coverage that isn’t used. Resulting in these companies profiting from their price increases.

Why pay for something that is more expensive when there is a similar solution that costs less? With BCR, a specialist can show you all the options available to ensure that you only pay for what your employees want and need.

Read the article, The Problem With One-Size-Fits-All Health Insurance, from The New York Times for more information.

New Health Bill Leads to a Faster Drug Pipeline

Last week, The House passed legislation that aims to strengthen federal funds for biomedical research while also speeding up drug and medical-device approvals by the FDA. This comes after a long fought battle by the pharmaceutical industry.

In a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Burton writes:

“The measure also wraps in separate legislation that contains an extensive program to promote treatment of mental illness and would provide $1 billion to prevent and treat the national scourge of opioid addiction. These provisions helped to rally lawmakers from both sides of the aisle around the bill, which passed 392-26.”

It is hard to determine the exact impact of the bill. However, it will create great change in the pharmaceutical industry, including a faster drug pipeline, which has its pros and cons.

Some think that with drugs coming through the system faster, more competition will be created between drug makers resulting in lower prices. However, it is doubtful that this will prevent the current trend of dramatic price increases.

Read the full article, House Passes Health Bill to Speed Drug Approvals, Boost Biomedical Research, from the Wall Street Journal for more information.