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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Could there really be a down side to the availability of inexpensive generic medications?

A recent commentary in the NEJM talks about unintended consequences of the 4 dollar generics that are becoming increasingly available. Go here for a news report about the concerns expressed by two researchers from Harvard and an audio interview with one of the authors.

Their concern is that with low cost medications often paid for in cash that the data bases used for various purposes will be even less reliable that they are currently . These data bases are used for such things as pay-for-performance and various programs which purport to be quality improvement efforts .Apparently with these cheap prescriptions many pharmacies do not file claims with the pharmacy management companies and insurance companies.

This might translate into less control by the pharmacy management companies and could possibly diminish the value of the services they sell to large insurance companies and the companies that self insure.

I find myself with little sympathy for what they claim is a dark lining in an otherwise silver cloud of cheaper medications and will have even less for the "solutions" that may fix the "problem". It seems to be a problem for the pharmacy management companies and not so much for the patients who spend less on their prescription medications.

1 comment:

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Anything that stymies pay for performance, which is a sham, is okay with me.