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Cost of afib medication
I wonder what influence we can have about the devastating costs of drugs for our afib. The year has just begun and the two major medications I take for Afib have cost me just under $1000.00 . In January. With others I take I am well over that number. My cost for dofetilide alone has doubled and that is after my large deductible and I am on Medicare. Thankfully I have been able to meet these cost increases, but I know many can not and I worry about our future.
This is not a political issue. It is a community issue. I’d like to think we might have a voice. Am I the only one who is worrying about this?
patrickg, February 3, 2019 11:51am EST
Patio, I feel your pain and am in the process of switching my prescription costs to the VA for relief. I realize this benefit is only available to veterans so only a few of us can take advantage of the cost savings. The VA also has a drug hierarchy and is switching me from Eliquis to Pradaxa, but I will be paying $8 for a 30 day supply compared to $150 while I was in the “donut hole” for half of the year last year.
I also take Dofetilide so the out of pocket copay for these two drugs was over $300/month. This is in addition to the monthly premium I pay for prescription coverage.
As I have just started the transition to VA coverage, am interested in any feedback from others using the VA for medications.
shshaw, February 3, 2019 11:53am EST
I agree totally. Drug prices are out of control! I think greed is driving the market and don't see anything that can be done to change that.
Patio7, February 3, 2019 8:25pm EST
I live in Florida and have neighbors from England and Canada who shake their heads at what we struggle and worry about with prescription costs. They take the same drugs at low or no cost and yes they pay higher taxes, but as they say, “ no one worries about going bankrupt in retirement “. So long as we don’t “make a fuss” must be okay with us!😳😳😫
MellanieSAF, February 4, 2019 9:38am EST
We have previously discussed here that non-profit organizations such as StopAfib.org are involved in this fight. The issue with Medicare is that government rules do not allow Medicare to negotiate prices. The big Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs, such as Express Scripts and CVS Caremark) "negotiate" prices by extracting huge rebates from the drug companies that they pocket themselves. This artificially inflates drug prices, and we have to pay the higher prices causing our out of pocket costs to skyrocket.
Here is what the current administration is proposing to resolve this issue:
This article does a good job of explaining the problem, including that the coercion from the PBMs causes drug manufacturers to have to keep raising prices. This would allow (require) rebates to be passed along to patients by treating rebates not passed along to us as being collusion and no longer immune from prosecution under safe-harbor laws. The current Secretary of Health & Human Services comes from the drug industry and understands the games the PBMs play that hurt us patients.
PS. Here is another good article on the subject, from Forbes:
BethClark, February 4, 2019 10:08am EST
I don't have any answers for how to solve the problem. But some insurance companies will give you three months worth for the price of two months if you do mail order. That saves me almost $50 when I renew my Pradaxa via mail order. I only do that in the cooler months, however, because I don't want my meds sitting in the hot mailbox. I just read that the cost of Pradaxa is jumping 8%.
MellanieSAF, February 4, 2019 2:47pm EST
Apparently, tackling rebates on Medicare & Medicaid wasn't enough for HHS Secretary Azar - now he wants to do away with rebates entirely. That would sure change the dynamics of the marketplace, especially for payers. For the details, see:
Arline3366, February 4, 2019 3:41pm EST
PatrickG -- i notice you are switching to VA for your meds. Are you near a military hospital, not VA? The military hospital pharmacy may provide you with your meds at no cost. It's worth checking into. Also Express Scripts may offer reduced costs. Ruth
patrickg, February 4, 2019 5:57pm EST
Ruth—thanks for your suggestion. It looks like to be eligible for TRICARE prescription coverage, you have to be active duty or retired military. Having served only 4 years and not retired military, I would not be eligible for this benefit.
I will continue efforts to transition my prescriptions to the VA although I am finding it somewhat challenging, frustrating and time consuming.
Arline3366, February 4, 2019 6:12pm EST
Good luck to you!
Teagal, February 5, 2019 7:20pm EST
My spouse has been getting his meds from the VA for years, as do several of our friends and some neighbors. It saves us huge amounts of money.
If you need a med that tis not in the VA formulary, ask your primary care provider if they will order it. My hubby just brings in his prescriptions from a major well-know hospital where we both get our care, and so far his PCP at he VA writes it for him, even if it is off formulary. Our neighbor ges Eliquis because that is what his doctor at world famous local hospital prescribes for his AFib. He does the same thing with his prescriptions.