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Letter from the Editor, #757

Nov 26, 2014

When Walmart first introduced their $4 generic drug program we thought that it would be an oddity for a month or two and then go away. Then everyone jumped on the bandwagon and soon these programs were so commonplace that our patients felt anything over $4 was too much. Studies did show that this pricing program increased adherence and persistence for many patients taking thyroid, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol medications and that was a good thing. However raw material prices of these medications are going up and slowly but surely many of these meds are no longer only $4 or $8 or even $10.

During the past three months, drugs like levothyroxine, pravastatin, enalapril, and atorvastatin have increased 3 to 5-fold, and patients are starting to decrease the frequency in how often they fill these maintenance medications.

If you are finding your patients are mentioning this to you, I would encourage you to tell them to shop around as some pharmacies are holding prices lower for a longer period of time, and also encourage them to ask the pharmacist if there is another drug in the same class that is still at the cheaper price.


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Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief