March 28, 2023

Generic Medications Cost too much money!

Hello my name is paul thomas i’m a family medicine doctor and talking today about why generic medications are so expensive i read a great article recently about the variability in price among generic medications and the article is involving heart failure medication specifically lisinopril digoxin and carr beta law so just as a 10,000 foot overview about 5.7 million

Americans suffer from heart failure and it costs our economy about 30 billion dollars each year the cdc has its fact sheet i encourage you to check it out there’s also a map that shows the burden of the disease across the country the heart failure death rate with the red darker red spaces meaning more people are dying from this in those areas i reached out to this

Author because i was really interested in the article same as paul hoffman he told me a story about one of his patients paying $100 a month for digoxin $100 a month and he had said that this was a low-income patient who really couldn’t afford that much money anyways so that’s way too much money to spend on one medication and i’m gonna show you how i could save

You money in this space and we’ll talk a little bit about that later but first the article so generic medications like digoxin lisinopril and carve a toll all shouldn’t be that expensive and this article gets at why they’re so expensive in the marketplace so they looked at 55 different zip codes two states 153 chain pharmacies and 22 independent pharmacies and

They came up with this beautiful map of all the different pharmacies in their area they’re working in st. louis at st. louis university these dark red dots show the people who are paying more than 150 dollars for those three medications lisinopril digoxin carvanha law and one hundred fifty dollars a lot of money for generic medications and this is every month so

Imagine spending $150 every month that’s maybe close to $2,000 a year patience versus these darker blue dots folks are paying less than $20 for the same medications so the same medications those same three medications digoxin conveyed all all lisinopril were costing folks less than $20 a month that’s much more reasonable that’s an annual cost of about i don’t know

240 bucks or so and then in the middle you see the left yellow dots most folks are paying between 50 and $100 per month for their medications all three of those medications they put this out in a chart you can see that the average cost for digoxin was in the $40 range the average cost for lisinopril was 10 to 14 dollars and the average cost for carvedilol was $14

All told these three medications together cost between 67 and 70 dollars on average for consumers i say that amount of money is way too much money so the primary cost driver for these medications was the retail pharmacy itself not the duration of therapy the drug dose the pharmacy ownership or the pharmacy location and they even it looked at different income level

Communities and they found that there was variability independent of the income of the community and that that is written up in this paragraph here pricing did not vary by median annual income clusters corresponding to high moderate or lower incomes so i really encourage you to read through this article it’s really fascinating article but what i want to talk about

Right now is how i can save you money as a direct primary care doctor i work for plum health direct primary care and the way we can save you money is by wholesaling medications i’m gonna give you the examples here so for carvedilol it’s ten dollars and fourteen cents when we buy 500 pills so that’s two cents per pill and that’s sixty cents for a one-month supply

Compare that to fourteen dollars and 76 cents that the retail pharmacies are selling this medication for as evidence in the jama article and we can save you 14.6 18 cents per month lisinopril 10 milligram tablets we wholesale a thousand pills for ten dollars and 72 cents that’s one cent per pill that’s 32 cents a month and remember that the average cost was fourteen

Dollars and 18 cents so we’re saving you thirteen dollars and eighty six cents each month now digoxin this is a little bit more expensive at wholesale it comes out to about 51 cents per pill and that’s $15 for one month supply but remember the study said that it was 40 dollars on average when he buy it at the retail pharmacy so we’re again we’re saving you 24

Dollars and 80 cents so in total savings 14 dollars from the carvedilol $13 to lisinopril digoxin 24 dollars these are all the savings that you’re receiving so that’s 52 dollars a month we’re saving you just on your heart failure medications so you know not to be too preachy but when i took the hippocratic oath i said first do no harm and that includes financial

And economic harm so if you were one of my patients if you’re one of the members of plum health i’m looking into out for your best interest and i’m gonna try and save you money on your health care and show you how much your health care dollars actually worth so you can be healthier and not worry about your finances regarding your treatment so that’s that’s all

I wanted to talk about today my name is paul thomas i’m a family medicine doctor i’ll include some information in the links below and in the comments below so reach out to me if you have any questions i’m at paul at plum health tpc calm looking forward to keeping the conversation going have a great day and i’ll talk to you soon

Transcribed from video
Why Do Generic Drugs Cost So Much? By Plum Health DPC