A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

One Of These States Is Not Like The Other

One Of These States Is Not Like The Other

November 7, 2011

Chart showing Massachusetts as only state without increased Rx costs due to coupons

What's right with this chart? It comes a new report (press release; full report (pdf)) that quantifies what Health Care For All has been saying all along - drug coupons actually don’t lower costs for consumers but drive up prices and encourage patients to take more expensive, newer drugs.

The report, released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), details how drug marketing coupons increase premiums and violate patient privacy. The chart excerpted above calculates how much more each state will pay over the next 10 years due to drug coupons. The one exception is Massachusetts. We're the only zero. But the footnote notes that repeal of the drug coupon ban would increase costs in Massachusetts by $750 million over the next decade. Nationwide, drug coupons are already contributing significantly to increased costs. If current trends continue, it’s predicted that drug coupons will increase prescription drug costs by $32 billion over the next ten years.

We're fortunate that Medicare also bans these sales ploys. The study estimates that Medicare costs would go up by $18 billion if coupons were allowed.

We simply cannot afford to jump on the coupon bandwagon – look at what it would cost us. Massachusetts must continue as a leader in the battle to combat prescription drug costs; we’ve come too far to turn around now.
-Alyssa R. Vangeli