Blog | Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saying no to generic doughnuts

A new study by Medco reveals some interesting data about how seniors work around the Part D doughnut hole.

It's no big surprise that a chunk of them stop taking their statins once they have to pay for them. But did you know that--among those who stay on their meds--many seniors switch from brand-names to generics while they're paying out of pocket, and then switch back again when they reach the other side of the gap?

In an ACP Internist discussion of these stats, one staffer attributed the finding to the penny-saving, coupon-clipping habits of the Greatest Generation. But, as it turns out, these thrifty seniors may actually be costing themselves (as well as all of us taxpayers) in the long run, because if the patients used generics while they were covered by Part D, they would delay, or even avoid, arrival at the doughnut hole.

According to the Medco press release, the company deals with the problem by offering their members forms to talk to their docs about prescribing generics. But if they're already switching back and forth, it doesn't seem like these patients are scared to ask for the drugs they want. The real issue seems to be how do you convince them that generics are just as good as brand names? Any strategies out there?