Medicare Part D news: Drug companies to discount some medicines 50 percent (plus: what they won’t cover)

by Leigh Ann Hubbard, managing editor

In an interesting turn of events, relief is coming for seniors. Drug manufacturers are going to help pay for some medicines!

This sounds great, definitely, but we want to know from you: How much will it really help?

The News
Today, President Obama and industry trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America announced a big deal, part of which involves the dreaded Medicare Part D doughnut hole.

Under Medicare Part D, after you’ve reached $2,250 worth of drugs, you have to pay for the next $3,216 yourself.  This is the much-bemoaned “doughnut hole” (or donut hole).  But in a press release today, PhRMA said that soon (presumably) their members will provide a 50-percent discount on brand-name medicines during that gap.

Of course, notice that it only covers brand-name drugs. Medicare doesn’t prefer those anyway.  Just last week, in fact, American Medical Association members decided to urge Medicare and Medicaid to stop giving pharmacists incentives “to ‘push’ generic drugs over brand name drugs.”

Then again, many newer drugs are only available under the brand name–and they’re certainly the ones more likely to break the bank.

So how much difference do you think this new policy will make?


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2 Responses to “Medicare Part D news: Drug companies to discount some medicines 50 percent (plus: what they won’t cover)”

  1. James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor Blog » Blog Archive » DEVELOPING: Questions about Boniva and the Medicare donut-hole discount Says:

    [...] HomeMedical TopicsAsk the Doctor!Meet the ExpertsRecipesBlogVideos « Medicare Part D news: Drug companies to discount some medicines 50 percent (plus: what they won&#821… [...]

  2. Mary Jane Says:

    The drug manufacturers might be helping with some of the costs, but what can you do about the premiums the health insurance companies charge for Part D. Today, October 1 starts the official day insurance companies can market their Medicare plans and AdvantraRX has intiated a 60%+ increase in Part D premiums for 2010. This is immoral.

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