Updated 03/12/2013 04:08 PM
37 brand name drugs becoming generic
If you take brand name medications, many of them are about to get cheaper. According to a recent Blue Cross Blue Shield report, Upstate New Yorkers could see nearly $200 million in savings this year alone. Our Katie Gibas tells us what that means for patients.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEW YORK STATE -- If you're on certain brand name medications, you know how high your bill can get. For some, it costs hundreds of dollars every month.
"They question their co-pays a lot. Some of them are substantial. You can have $70, $100 co-pays for brand name drugs now a days. Sometimes it's stunning, the co-pays," said pharmacist James Femia.
Often the prices become too overwhelming.
"If you can't afford your medicine and you have to decide between eating and taking your medicine, most people end up eating. And their health deteriorates," said Dr. Frank Dubeck, the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Chief Medical Officer for Medical Policy.
But relief is on its way. Fourteen brand name drugs will be allowed in generic form this year. That includes high blood pressure medication Diovan and the depression and pain prescription Cymbalta. Another 23 will be added next year, including the popular acid reflux pill Nexium and the nasal spray Nasonex. New Yorkers will save nearly $450 million during the next two years.
"A brand co-pay for one of the items, say like Nexium, on somebody's insurance could be $50 and the generic could be ten. It's a substantial savings usually," said Femia.
Lower prices mean two-fold savings for patients.
"For insurance companies, it means that drugs can be available at lower costs. Anything that lowers costs lowers premiums," said Dubeck.
The longer the generics are on the market, the more companies start to produce them. And that means further savings for patients.
Check out the full savings report at www.excellusbcbs.com.