Tuesday, January 2, 2007

clinical innovations, decreasing durg costs, the place for generis, Twenty Clinical Innovatiions to Build Patient-Doctor Trust: Thirteenth in a Series

Twelve Ways for Physicians to Help Patients Decrease Drug Costs

Hang around 65 year olds long enough, and the subject of prescription drug costs will surface. Some sexagenarians tell me they are asking doctors, “Can’t you prescribe something a little cheaper?” Doctors usually can, and they can offer other advice too. Give it. Trust me, they will trust you more.

1. Prescribe generic drugs when appropriate.

2. Offer free drug samples but point out brand name refills may be expensive.

3. Encourage patients to order drugs in bulk by mail.

4. Consider dispensing from the office in states where office dispensing is permitted. Four side benefit are: one, when you are buying drug inventory, you will learn costs of drugs; two, you will be paid for time and knowledge needed in writing prescriptions; three, drugs you dispense will be less expensive than at pharmacies; four, patients are more likely to comply with your instructions when you personally hand them the drug you prescribed.

5. Explain to eligible veterans that many prescriptions are available for $7 at their local VA if they qualify for the benefit.

6. Make patients aware Wal-Mart sells some prescription drugs for $4. Target stores are offering a similar service.

7. Delegate to a member of your staff the duty of explaining the best Medicare drug benefit.

8. Learn the cost of drugs from a local pharmacy or pharmacies to which you refer your patients.

9. Recommend effective OTC (Over the Counter) drugs when appropriate.

10. Consult sources such at Consumer Reports, MedicalGuide.org to see what they recommend as most cost-effective drugs.

11. Suggest to patients that they visit their health plan’s website: some of these websites contain information on the comparative costs of brand name drugs and generic-equivalents.

12. Make friends with pharmacists. They may be you and your patients’ best friends in threading the way through the drug cost world.

Remember: To gain trust of your patients in the future, you may find yourself serving as their mentor and navigator through the medical cost maze.


Unknown said...

Physicians need to help patients navigate theough an ever more capable but complex system: "Pput the patient in the driver's seat - but with the doctor riding shotgun!".

Daniel Johnson, Jr.,MD

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