Co-Pay's Designed to Improve Health: Maybe We Don't Have To Hold Our Breath

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  • 04/16/2007
Interesting article about United Health's PBM cutting copays to insure continued use of asthma inhalers -- as opposed to risking decreased use of Rx and increased use of more expensive services...a proposition FUSA Godfather Ron (I take money from George Soros) Pollack finds ridiculous.

The question is.. why not eliminate the huge co-pays for cancer drugs -- which have jumped many times more than the price of drugs themselves -- to promote compliance in other disease areas? Why not value driven health plans across the board? That is what evidence based medicine should really be about..

UnitedHealth cuts co-pay on asthma inhaler
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Published: April 13, 2007 at 11:07 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS, April 13, 2007 (UPI) -- U.S. health insurance giant UnitedHealthcare said Friday it has cut the co-payment for certain asthma inhalers due to high cost and short supply.

The insurer said its pharmacy benefit manager UnitedHealth Pharmaceutical Solutions has reclassified its chlorofluorocarbon-free, asthma inhaler Xopenex to its lowest co-pay tier, meaning plan members will pay between $5 and $10 for the prescription treatment.

CFC-free inhalers are gradually replacing CFC-containing albuterol inhalers, due to CFCs' environmental risks, but the CFC-free products cost more, and there are only a handful currently sold, UnitedHealth said.

The supply shortage of both generic and brand-name CFC-free inhalers is expected to increase until the complete phase-out deadline of Dec. 31, 2008, the company said.

"Asthma patients have relied on albuterol inhalers for years because they provide quick and effective relief of asthma symptoms. However, because of the higher cost for the new brand-name CFC-free inhalers, some patients may avoid continued treatment, which would place their health at serious risk," said Tim Heady, CEO of UnitedHealth Pharmaceutical Solutions.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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