Pharmaceutical company pricing and coupon loyalty programs are a significant factor in why drug spend is expected to be the number one contributor of total health care spend by 2017 – above professional medical and urgent care spend.1 In general, coupons – which are often applied at point of sale but as a transaction separate from the benefit transaction – circumvent employer pharmacy benefit and formulary strategies by removing the incentive for customers to use the most cost effective alternatives. To affectively curb the rising costs of prescription drugs, pharmacy benefit designs and formulary strategies must be vigilant, active and sometimes surgical.
Guiding customers away from the glitz
Brand-name medications cost more. Drug coupons don’t change that; they simply reduce what customers pay. The remaining cost of the drug is paid by the employer. Coupons for drugs in classes with generic alternatives drive up costs for everyone. At Cigna, we make a number of options available to assist in combating coupons.
|Drug||Cost per brand drug||Cost of alternative in Cigna's formulary|