Clip and Copy: If patients question your Rx

November 7, 2003

With the increase in multitiered prescription plans, patient confusion grows. This handout will help them make sense of it.

With the increase in multitiered prescription plans, patient confusion grows. This handout will help them make sense of it.

W ith drug costs rising in recent years, employers have taken a second look at their prescription drug benefit plans. An increasingly popular way of holding down costs is the tiered copayment, which forces patients to pay more when they're prescribed higher-priced drugs instead of generics or other less expensive ones. Whatever their merits as a cost-control tool, prescription plans are certain to leave many of your patients wondering why you sometimes prescribe expensive medications and at other times cheaper ones. And they may very well ask you to change your prescription to save them money.

To help them understand how these plans work and why you sometimes feel you have to prescribe a more expensive product, we've put together the patient handout below. It explains the three-tiered structure typical of most copay plans, as well as a recent twist: percentage copay plans.

Of course, the letter includes a description of your role in the process. Patients who may be confused need to know that you'll work with them to save money, but never at the expense of therapeutic effectiveness or safety.

This handout is your chance to speak directly to patients about a matter of common concern. We encourage you to photocopy the form (we've left room at the bottom for you to stamp or sign your name). You can also have it commercially copied and customized.

—Senior Editor
Wayne J. Guglielmo

To view the form in Word you must have Word 2000 or better. If you don't have this program you can download the free Microsoft Word 97/2000 Viewer. (You cannot edit an open document in Word Viewer. However, you can copy text to the Clipboard to paste it in other applications).

Other forms and patient handouts are available in the Clip and Copy section of our Web site at www.memag.com .



Wayne Guglielmo. Clip and Copy: If patients question your Rx. Medical Economics Nov. 7, 2003;80:90.