PodMed TT – Cost of Brand-Name Combination Pills vs. Generics

Are combination pills, also known as “polypills,” a good idea when it comes to managing a person’s multiple conditions? A JAMA study Rick and I highlight on PodMed TT this week suggests the answer is no, if cost is the major consideration.

That’s because these combination medicines accounted for a staggering $925 million over the cost of generics in 2016! Admittedly, conserving those funds would require subbing in either generics at the same dosages, generic substitutes at different dosages, and/or generics of the same class—perhaps a more complex regimen for patients but resulting in a huge cost savings for Medicare. And as we opine, that’s you and me, folks. We, too, are vested in Medicare outlays as we are funding them with taxpayer dollars. Rick also points out that polypills are a construct of pharma, a clear attempt to retain market share when prescription medicines go off-patent. So, we advise asking for generics, all concerned. The dollars you save may just be your own.

Other topics this week include cardiovascular health levels and dementia, and updated cervical cancer screening guidelines from the USPSTF in JAMA; and the impact of LDL on outcomes in people thought to be at low 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease in Circulation.

Until next week, y’all listen up and make healthy choices.