Medication Costs

Medications can be very expensive.  The cost for the research, development and promotion of these medication, not to mention the pharmaceutical profits frequently drive the cost of these medications to ridiculous heights.  Fortunately, for many of these medicines there are excellent and inexpensive alternates.  All you need to do is ask, and I will make every effort to prescribe an effective and inexpensive alternate.

What are the advantages of proprietary (brand name) medications?  Typically these newer medications have been developed to have advantages over the existing versions.  Sometimes they offer an unique new treatment that didn’t exist before. I guess Viagra is a good example.  But more often the advantages are more subtle. Such as being more potent, or with a more favorable side effect profile.  Or perhaps more convenient, say once a day, dosing.  These advantages are significant and real.  And heavily promoted. 

But less heavily promoted, are very real disadvantages to be aware of as well.  First and foremost is that because  these medications are newer, they don’t have the track record that generic versions do.  Formulations such as Baycol for cholesterol, Vioxx for pain, or Avandia for diabetes were either pulled from the market or heavily restricted because of dangers that became evident only after several years on the market. The other major downside of proprietary medications are their high costs.  Many of our patients are unaware of these cost because of generous pharmacy benefit coverage.  But for many other patients these cost pose a significant burden.  I cannot readily tell by looking at your chart what your medication cost are.  But you certainly know all too well. So if let me know and I will work with you to get you onto the best possible and least expensive regime.  And I will do so making no compromise with your health.

Making the transition from a proprietary medication to a generic is usually easy.  But not always.  There is not a one to one dose conversion from one medication to another.  Say, 10 mg of Crestor is roughly, but not always equivalent to 40mg of simvastatin.  Or the new medication can always cause an unique side effect.  Usually the change will mean an extra visit or blood test, so if you are doing great on your current regime, you might not wish to “rock the boat”. On the other hand, for medications that you may need to take for many years, it is frequently worth the extra effort because the cost savings are considerable.

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Wind River Range - 1986