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MASSPIRG joined Health Care for All, Community Catalyst, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, and MA Association of Health Plans in urging the senate to oppose apemdments #422 and #488 which would emiminate the end of RX marketing tactics - coupons and rebates - that lead to higher drug prices and insurance costs.
Some drug manufactuers offer consumers coupons to pay part or all of the consumer co-pay for brand name expensive drugs. The higher cost of the drug is then born by those covered by the insurer. The Rx drug coupons increase the use of newer and more expensive prescription drugs, resulting in a profound increase in overall health care costs. For this reason rx coupons are prohibited for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
The pharmacuitical industry spends $4 billion a year on coupons to promote an additional $16-$24 billion in additional sales of expensive brand name drugs.
The legisalture had allowed a temporary test, allowing coupons for a limited time, and requiring further study. The waiver for the coupons is supposed to end July 1, 2019, but the pharmacuitcal industry is pushing to keep their marketing gimmicks and extend the deadline. At a time when we are focused on improving health care and lowering costs, we must not extend this anti consumer drug marketing program.
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