Jay Parkinson has a nifty section of his blog where he details the money he has saved his patients. The timeframe spans one month (October). His total is $9,672. Pretty nice; I’ll be watching to see what else you do.
I can speak for pharmacists, technicians, and patients when I say that its really, really nice to see a doctor doing the research to find out how much drugs actually cost. I see so much healthcare inefficiency on a daily basis just as it relates to drug therapy, it makes me want to start knocking heads together. Prescribers going right for the Nexium or Prevacid without EVER trying omeprazole; Lipitor when simvastatin is just as effective and has never been tried; Lescol XL, when pravastatin has never been tried; Avodart when finasteride has never been tried. Right for the ARB when an ACEi has never been tried.
Look, I don’t give a fuck what your pet drug is. I don’t give a damn what the drug rep shoves under your nose on a weekly basis. I don’t care that you’re unaware of the top-of-mind marketing that’s being used on you without your knowledge or consent.
If it’s going to cost an elderly person on a fixed income an extra $594/year because you “like it better”, you need an ass-kicking.
And so on. I’m all for moving from one drug to another if a less expensive drug has been tried and has failed. That makes sense. But the absolute waste of money because less expensive alternatives have never been tried boggles my mind. I can truly understand why prior authorizations were invented, even if I curse them daily for wasting minutes of my precious time.
Back to the topic at hand: this time of year, people make appointments to see me, where we sit down(!), chat, review medications, and then we talk about what can be done for 2008. Most people that see me are happy with their drug therapy, except for one thing: it costs too much. The goal of their visit is to reduce the cost of their drug therapy for 2008, every single time. Without fail.
I have seen 7 people across two days. (An average appointment lasts about 45 minutes.) In that time, I have saved patients $11,831. That’s an average inefficiency of ~$1700 per person. And these are people with drug coverage. The single highest total for one person was ~$3600/year.
In the next couple of days, I’ll try to share some scenarios so you can see how much just one simple switch can save an average person.
Keep up the good work, Jay. Seriously. Pharmacists, technicians, and patients everywhere applaud your good sense and efforts.