ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The rising cost of medications is a hard pill to swallow; but now, there’s actually a solution to get discounted medications for you and your employees and save your business from the pitfalls of the continued inflation of healthcare costs.
- What’s the status of the prices of medicines in the US?
- How does the rising cost of medications impact you and your employees?
- What are the government and New Mexico’s initiatives to curb the rising cost of medications?
- How can you help reduce the medication costs of your employees?
- How does DPC help with the rising cost of medications?
- What’s in it for you as a business owner?
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Status Quo of Medication Pricing in the US
A survey reveals US prices on prescription meds are two to four times higher than other countries. In 2020, prices of about 480 medications jumped 5% based on stats. The most significant increases are the most common medications prescribed to manage chronic diseases. These medications include medications for depression, ADHD, and diabetes. Most of these are brand-name drugs.
This year, some big pharmaceutical companies are increasing their prices. According to Reuters, a leading pharma company raised the prices of its 60 medications. Price increases ranged from about 3% to 9% among pharma manufacturers. The costs of drugs were and still are a growing problem for everyone.
For one, New Mexico spent over $700 million on prescription drugs in 2018. It equates to a 59% increase over four years.
Factors contributing to the high cost of medications in the US are some factors based on a study:
- Nature of the disease: Why are prescription drugs so high? Some of your employees may be suffering from serious illnesses. They have no option but to pay for the high cost of prescription drugs to prolong their life. Because your employees are willing to pay for the medications, the prices remain high.
- High cost of drug development: The development of new drugs takes more than ten years. The cost of it may reach up to billions due to trial and error. It’s costly to develop drugs, and the return on investment comes at a high price.
- Monopoly and lobbying power of pharma: Pharma companies manufacture exclusive drugs for specific diseases. For example, some companies have no competition over their medicines for cancer and insulin. These companies dictate the price of their product in the absence of new drugs and regulations.
Moreover, big pharma companies spend millions to safeguard their interests. They have lobbying power that affects regulatory and legislative reform.
Pharma companies deliver medicines in retail drugstores. If you think you’re buying at list cost, think again. Drugstores have a markup of 20% to more than 100% percent!
Impacts of Rising Medication Costs for Employers and Employees in Albuquerque
Employees without company-sponsored benefits suffer the most. They can’t afford out-of-pocket costs of meds. Your employees may opt to skip taking medications. A survey states 38% of New Mexicans missed filling prescriptions because of the high price.
The rising cost of medications impacts your employees’ productivity and general health. It can be detrimental for your employees and you as a business owner. Once they skip their medication regimen, your employees have to face the consequences.
- The disease may worsen: Some of your employees who fail to take their hypertensive meds are at risk of heart attack or stroke.
- It may lead to severe complications: Sick employees who stop taking meds for their diabetes have a greater risk of kidney damage, blindness, or amputation.
Sick employees mean presenteeism and absenteeism. They may drag themselves to work. They won’t be doing real work since they’re not feeling well. They are physically present, but they have little output or none at all.
It will cost you their daily wages and losses from productivity. But you face the same result for sick employees who prefer to be absent. For the US, it’s about $300 billion in a year!
New Mexico’s Initiatives | Discounted Medication
At the top level, President-elect Joe Biden said he’d act on reducing the costs of meds. He added he’d support legislation from Congressional Democrats.
At the same time, state legislators are promoting bills to lower medication costs. Some of these bills aim to penalize pharma companies for overpriced meds. For instance, Washington, Hawaii, and Maine pushed for a bill to impose an 80% tax on medication price increases.
The State of New Mexico has its initiatives:
- Senate Bill 1: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill No. 1 in 2020. It authorizes the NM Department of Health to develop a plan to import wholesale meds from Canada. Prescription drugs from Canada are about 30% cheaper than in the US.
The law benefits New Mexicans, especially people living at the borderline of poverty. In Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, the poverty rate is about 17% of the population.
The law is a big help for vulnerable New Mexicans to gain access to lower-priced prescription drugs. It can help save and prolong their lives. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for NM to save millions.
- HB 292: Governor Grisham also signed House Bill No. 292 last year. It aims to lower the cost and limit co-pays of insulin for people with diabetes. Insulin costs$25 per prescription for 30 days. New Mexico is the third state that has the lowest price in the country.
Politics aside, a study cited many potential solutions to the rising costs of meds. Some of these are making patent reforms and fast-tracking approval for generics. The researchers mentioned value-based pricing and a cap on price increases.
On the grassroots level, the study suggests medical practitioners play a role. Medical practitioners can discuss drug affordability with their clients. They can also direct clients to pharmacies with the lowest prices.
Discounted Medication for ABQ Employees
Some Albuerquerque business owners try to help their employees through the following initiatives:
- Information drive: They hold meetings to educate their employees about available sources of promos, discounts, or coupons. Pharmacies or retails stores offer deals and prescription savings cards at any given time.
Some employers promote generic drugs to their employees. Generics have similar safety, efficacy, and strength compared to branded ones. These generic meds cost at least 30% less than brand-name drugs.
- Employee healthcare benefits package: Employers provide their employees with a healthcare benefits package. It may include preventive, and wellness programs employees can utilize.
Some employers offer DPC services through a provider. Employees gain access to health promotion and maintenance, counseling, and management of chronic diseases. Above all else, there are discounted medications and laboratory services, too.
Direct Primary Care on Discounted Medication
The CDC released a National Health Interview Survey in 2017. It reveals almost 60% of Americans between 18-64 years old reported taking prescribed meds.
One solution to curb spending on medications is to decrease medication-taking. It’s possible when you get to the root of your employees’ health status. Medical practitioners prescribe drugs primarily due to chronic illness.
In Bernalillo County, chronic illnesses account for the leading causes of death. These conditions are cancer, heart disease, lower lung disease, diabetes, and chronic liver disease or cirrhosis.
DPCs don’t cover life-threatening illnesses, unlike health insurance. Although, they manage chronic diseases. Your employees who have maintenance meds can take advantage of DPC’s discounted rates.
If your employees are already taking meds, DPC offers discounted meds. It’s possible since DPCs buy wholesale and sell it directly to clients. The meds are cheaper because there’s no markup compared to those sold in pharmacies. DPC providers slash the cost of meds by 50% or more compared to retail store prices.
Prescriptions from DPC providers are generic meds dispensed in-house. Your employees avail of the cheaper cost of meds at their convenience. They won’t have to go to a drugstore since meds are available at the DPC facility.
On top of the discounted meds, DPC also offers chronic illness management.
Your healthy employees can benefit from DPC. About 75% of healthcare costs are due to chronic illnesses, according to the CDC. DPC offers regular screening, prevention programs, and nutrition counseling. These disciplines promote healthy choices and lifestyles to prevent diseases.
It’s not a guarantee your employees won’t get sick. But it lessens their risk of developing chronic illnesses and eventual medication-taking.
Direct Primary Care Saving ABQ Employers
It all boils down to savings.
You have a responsibility to the health of your employees as a business owner. It includes ensuring their work environment is conducive and safe. Your work policies contribute to their quality of life and well-being. Healthy workers mean lower expenses on their part and cost-efficiency for you.
The latest survey shows New Mexicans believe healthcare is too expensive, including co-pays. Copays are costly in terms of medications. DPC has no copay. In sum, it reduces your healthcare costs with a monthly fixed rate.
Direct Primary Care in Albuquerque Near You
Well Life Family Practice, a direct primary care provider, is conveniently located at 8400 Osuna Road NE, Suite 5C, Albuquerque. We offer preventive and chronic disease management for your employees’ healthcare needs. Also included in our membership package are discounted medications and labs.
We can make it easier for you and your employees. We offer discounted medications. It’s a tasty proposal for a $75 monthly membership package. It lessens your cost on employee healthcare and helps your employees with their medication budget.