In a novel bid to slash drug costs, a California legislator has introduced a bill to prohibit the use of coupons when a lower-priced medicine is available.
The legislation, which is only the second such effort to be introduced in a state legislature, comes as controversy mounts over the role that coupons play in the debate over rising health care costs and prescription medicines, in particular. Last November, two New Jersey lawmakers proposed a similar bill.
I don’t know how you get cheaper than free. Couponing is a loss leader, and for a brand new drug the coupon gets you first month drug free and maybe more. Plus, therapeutic substitution laws allow druggists to substitute a cheaper therapeutically equivalent drug. Once you fill your first paid Rx the sticker shock sets in but by that time the hook has been set and you’re getting reeled in like a mackerel.
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