Out of Reach

Drug prices are insane. Drug Copays are going up fast.

Increasingly, drug coverage insurance is pushing more drug costs onto the patients. This quickly becomes a problem.

The result: Even when patients have health insurance, huge copays may place necessary drugs out of reach.

Pharmaceutical companies will respond in several ways to this criticism:

Copay coupons can turn a $400 copay into $10 for six to twelve months. But, this is temporary and the need for the medicine is usually life-long. When the coupon expires, you and your patient have a big problem.

Patient Assistance programs can be helpful. Unfortunately, they work only when there is no insurance and the patient is very poor. Such programs also require a huge amount of paperwork which baffles those in need.

These programs allow companies to keep prices high, while pretending to show compassion to those in need.

The result is serious: Several times, in just the past month, our patients have walked away from their pharmacies without filling their prescriptions, simply due to cost. Diabetes medications are currently among the worst offenders. Anticoagulants, such as Eliquis, are also becoming a huge problem, particularly as the discount coupons expire.

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Steven Mussey MD

Steven Mussey, M.D. is a physician in Internal Medicine, practicing in the Fredericksburg area for more than twenty years. He grew up in Springfield, Virginia and earned a degree in Physics from The University of Virginia, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his medical degree at The George Washington University and was inducted into the medical honor society AOA. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. He served in the Air Force for four years before entering into private practice. He particularly enjoys geriatric medical care and working with complex patients. For almost a quarter century, he has been practicing with one other Internist. Both doctors enjoy practice in a small, but busy office, and plan on working into their 70s, as long as they can still find their way to the office. Dr. Mussey is also an avid cartoonist and has a weekly cartoon in the local newspaper. He also enjoys cartoon animation and has had several public service cartoons playing regularly on the television cable systems.