Drug Makers Sidestep Barriers on Pricing

Dr. Kenneth BeerDr. Kenneth Beer, a Florida dermatologist, said drug makers were “trying to get rid of the sticker shock of using their drugs.”
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The New York Times.

The pain reliever Duexis is a combination of two old drugs, the generic equivalents of Motrin and Pepcid.

If prescribed separately, the two drugs together would cost no more than $20 or $40 a month. By contrast, Duexis, which contains both in a single pill, costs about $1,500 a month.

Needless to say, many insurers do not want to pay for Duexis. Yet sales of the drug are growing rapidly, in large part because its manufacturer, Horizon Pharma, has figured out a way to circumvent efforts of insurers and pharmacists to switch patients to the generic components, or even to the over-the-counter versions.

It is called “Prescriptions Made Easy.” Instead of sending their patients to the drugstore with a prescription, doctors are urged by Horizon to submit prescriptions directly to a mail-order specialty pharmacy affiliated with the drug company. The pharmacy mails the drug to the patient and deals with the insurance companies, relieving the doctor of the reimbursement hassle that might otherwise discourage…

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