With Drug Costs Increasing, Some Physicians Are Inventing Solutions
Physicians are the middle man between health insurers and patients.
HealthDay News -- In an effort to mitigate the increasing cost of prescription medications, some physicians are creating novel workaround solutions, according to an article published by Kaiser Health News.
Frustrated by seemingly unreasonable price tags and political stagnation, some physicians are making efforts to bring down prescription drug costs for their patients. One example involves the physician Cathleen London, from Milbridge, Maine, who devised a workaround for EpiPens. She built an autoinjector, which can be customized for pediatric and adult dosing and allows patients to refill it when the dose is expired or used. She purchases reusable autoinjectors and fills them with epinephrine herself.
The price of EpiPens has increased in recent years, up from just over $100 for a two-pack in 2009 to $600, as a result of an increase in the cost of the device, not the active ingredient. A generic version was released last year, which is about half the cost. London charges $50 for the initial autoinjector device and $2.50 for a refill. In the past, insurers shielded consumers from most of the rising costs of prescription medication, but health insurance plans have increasingly required greater cost-sharing.
However, the strategy of creating a workaround has its challenges. Workarounds require considerable effort from the physician and trust from patients. Other issues include sterility in a reusable device and the lack of other safeguards and regulations.
Luthra S. Instead of trashing a $600 EpiPen, some patients get a refill. Kaiser Health News. Published March 1, 2017. http://khn.org/news/instead-of-trashing-a-600-epipen-some-patients-get-a-refill/