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.
We can make a difference!
Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief