DEVELOPING: Questions about Boniva, Tamiflu and the Medicare donut-hole discount

by Leigh Ann Otte, managing editor

My Family Doctor has learned that Boniva and Tamiflu are no longer covered by the recently announced Medicare-discount agreement.  Whether their manufacturer Roche Pharmaceuticals will instate its own discount is unclear.

On June 20, the powerful trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America made big news, announcing their members would offer a 50-percent discount to most people in the dreaded Medicare Part D doughnut hole. But today, the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest reported Roche is leaving PhRMA.

My Family Doctor asked Roche whether they would still offer the discount. Spokesman Alfred Wasilewski responded, “unfortunately we cannot comment at this time.”

Roche makes the well-known and expensive osteoporosis drug Boniva (the one Sally Field promotes in those commercials). It also makes Tamiflu, which many seniors and others take to prevent and treat the flu. Tamiflu could have a big year if swine flu and the fears that accompany it hit big. Neither Boniva nor Tamiflu has a generic equivalent.

We’ll stay on this story.

To see a list of other drugs Roche makes, click here to go to their Web site.

What do you think of this news?  If you take Boniva, how much do you pay for it?

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