It is no secret that drug prices continue to be a problem in the United States. In a previous blog post, we discussed the environment in which skyrocketing drug prices are allowed to take off.  It has continued to be an important subject to Americans and the ongoing presidential campaigns.  The growing issue of medications costs is punctuated with head-spinning facts such as drugs that are $1,000 per pill in the US costing as little as $4 in India, or the life-expectancy is higher in Costa Rica than the United States despite higher income and amount spent on healthcare by Americans.  Some insurance companies are beginning to fight back against pharmaceutical companies pricing by dropping expensive drugs from their covered medications.   The strategy to drop

expensive drugs from their formularies was established two years ago by Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the US, when they announced they would no longer pay for 48 brand-name medications.  This was a result of many medicines raising over 20% in price over the previous year, so Express Scripts stopped paying for them in 2014 and moved their patients to generics or competing drugs.  The result was many pharmaceutical companies dropping the prices of the products, and some being reaccepted into Express Scripts’ formulary.   Ronny Gal, a drug industry analyst, expects more than half of all insured people will have some medications excluded from their coverage. He said, “Drug companies have been pricing their drugs largely along the lines of…whatever…

There are many companies that, for a fee, offer to help people apply to pharmaceutical patient assistance programs (PAPs). Some even show up when you do a Google search for "NeedyMeds" or words spelled close to "NeedyMeds." While some make reasonable claims, others seem to say if you pay them a fee they can get you any medicine for free. And some of the fees can pile up pretty quickly. No PAP charges you to apply. Occasionally you'll find one that has a copayment, but you should never pay upfront. How complicated is it to apply to a PAP? The simple answer is "it depends on the program." Just about every program has its own application. Some are very simple while others are a little

more demanding. But this should never deter anyone from applying. Horror stories abound about people who were duped by companies that help people apply to PAPs. What steps should you take to protect yourself from being ripped off? There are websites where people describe the problems they encounter with companies such as: Complaint Board Complaints Board Ripoff Report Pissed Consumer Better Business Bureau Another way to find potential problems is just to Google the company name with the word "complaints." You can also contact the attorney general's office in the company's state of incorporation to see if they have received complaints or investigated the company. Don't be suckered by the testimonials that appear on a company's website. Even if they are real, you never see…