Drug Coupons

October 13, 2016
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It is a good deal for those people. But these seemingly generous coupons may be making drug costs higher for everyone. New research suggests that co-payment coupons can actually increase total health care spending by encouraging patients to choose more expensive drugs when there are lower-priced substitutes available. Those high costs can then boomerang back to patients in the form of higher insurance premiums.

Mylan is not the only drug company to offer such coupons. They are common in the industry and used for drugs for many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, skin problems and mental illness.

The negative effects of coupons have long been suspected, but a pair of new papers, one published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine and one that will be published by the National Bureau of Economic Research next week, are the first to precisely measure the effect.

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