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TacticalPeek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:59 PM
Original message
Drugmakers offer discounts to the uninsured
Drugmakers offer discounts to the uninsured

By Christopher Bowe in New York

Published: January 12 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 12 2005 02:00

Ten global pharmaceutical companies plan to offer discounts of at least 25 per cent on drugs for 36m Americans lacking health insurance, as the industry increasingly tries to improve its reputation and ease political pressures.

The companies yesterday launched the Together Rx Access discount card plan, at a time when the US debate continues on escalating drug costs, pricing and the government's role in them. Meanwhile, the drugs industry's reputation is at an all-time low.

Participants include some of the industry's biggest groups: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and Bristol-Myers Squibb from the US; AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline of the UK; Sanofi-Aventis of France; Switzerland's Novartis; Japan's Takeda Chemical Industries and TAP, an Abbott-Takeda joint venture.

People qualifying - uninsured individuals with an income of between $30,000 and $60,000 (15,980-31,960) for a family of four - would get 25 to 40 per cent discounts on a wide range of prescription medicines and some generic drugs. The plan covers about 80 per cent of some 45m people lacking health insurance. The others may receive other benefits or fail to qualify financially.


more
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/b120a50a-643f-11d9-b0ed-00000e...

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. The HMOs won't like this, it could make being uninsured pay off. nt
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CornField Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. Of course they did
Anything so they can keep some of us (or our insurance companies) paying full price.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. I can't wait to see the bureaucratic roadblocks put in place for this.
The current plans offered by drug companies for drug assistance are ridiculous. The paperwork hampers providers to no end, and confuses patients in need. And it never ends. You must put forth newly filled out forms on a monthly or, if you're lucky, quarterly basis.

I am not impressed.
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AndrewJacksonFaction Donating Member (471 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
4. This is pretty much standard practice in our business
I own 2 diagnostic imaging centers and we offer a 50% or more discount on all cash paying patients. I would actually prefer all of our patients to pay cash due to the fact I know we are going to get paid. With the insurance companies I am not too sure if and when we will get paid or how much. Here is an example:

Cost of Lumbar MRI: $1750
Insurance on average will reimburse us $560
Average cash paying patient will pay us $700

So as you can see it is actually pretty smart from a business standpoint to offer these discounts. This brings more people through the doors that might not otherwise come, because of the prohibitive costs. So I applaud the Rx companies but they still could do more.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Honest question here. Why
is the initial cost of a lumbar MRI $1750? Seems like you'd accept either what insurance allows or what an average person can pay. I've always wondered.
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. A side note on MRI
When my 78 year-old father was in Europe he thought he might have a kidney problem.
He went to a doctor in Germany and had an MRI of the painful kidney.
MRI cost: 200 Euros
In New York the same test costs $1500.



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AllegroRondo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Why not start a 'cash only' clinic?
could it work?
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Been Fishing Donating Member (161 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
6. In the NYT.
<snip>
Industry officials said that if the cards worked as intended, they could reduce the public clamor for legislation to allow the import of low-cost drugs from Canada and elsewhere.

People can qualify for the cards if they are younger than 65 and not eligible for Medicare, if they have no public or private coverage for drug costs and if their incomes do not exceed certain levels. The limit is $30,000 for an individual, $40,000 for a couple, $50,000 for a family of three and $60,000 for a family of four.
<snip>

Notice that this is an attempt by the drug companies to counter "the import of low-cost drugs from Canada and elsewhere". Drug companies are protecting their profits.

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radric Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Really, who cares why they are doing it..
as long as it's being done. Any reduction is a godsend to those without health insurance or prescription coverage.
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durablend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. What's stopping them from jacking prices up
30% to make up for it?

"Well yeah we raised prices, but we're giving you a DISCOUNT!!!!!" :crazy:
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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. because once they've had
the politicians they own sneak some legislation in on the back of another bill, that legislation allowing them to use the DEA to *prosecute* for using the competition, they'll *undo* it, & we'll be back @ their mercy.


standard OP in the "war on drugs".
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Been Fishing Donating Member (161 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. You should care because
they don't want cheaper drugs re-imported. Re-imported drugs would be even cheaper than their discounts for "those without health insurance or prescription coverage."

Much cheaper!

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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Exactly.
What's more. They're helping to protect Bushy from having to do anything to deal with the millions without health care coverage.
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Psephos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
14. I'm uninsured, and have been for 24 years
I'm glad to get one of these cards, and could care less what the secret motivations are.
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