prescription drugs

The majority of Americans have health insurance that includes coverage for prescription drugs. But unfortunately that doesn't ensure that they can afford the specific drugs their doctors prescribe for them.

In fact, many Americans report that their insurance plans sometimes don't cover a drug they need — and nearly half the people whom this happens to say they simply don't fill the prescription. That's according to a poll released this month on income inequality from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Patients would get expanded access to prescription drugs under a bill in the Legislature that allows pharmacies to operate medication-dispensing kiosks.

There's no doubt that opioids have been massively overprescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there's been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient's opioid prescription could harm them.

tr0tt3r / Creative Commons

Floridians concerned about running out of medication during or after the storm will get relief in knowing some insurers are allowing members in all counties to get an early refill of their medications.

Florida Blue said its members can get a 30-day emergency supply of medication from in-network pharmacies through Sept. 28. In addition, should their doctors offices close, members can members can use the Florida Blue website or mobile app, or call Florida Blue, to find care at an alternative participating provider.

Vendors, Critics Show Interest In Canadian Drug Importation Plan

Aug 2, 2019

Florida’s initial effort to gauge interest in the operation of a Canadian drug importation program has drawn more letters of concern from critics than responses from those seeking to participate in the program.

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued a request for information from potential vendors in late May, after state lawmakers approved the drug-importation plan. During a month-long response period, two vendors --- Ernst & Young and Maximus --- responded to the agency’s request.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week that, if federal authorities give it their go-ahead — still a very big if — would allow his state to import prescription drugs from Canada. That makes Florida the third state to pass such a law, joining Vermont and Colorado. More such legislative attempts are in the works.

As the cost of prescription medication soars, consumers are increasingly taking generic drugs: low-cost alternatives to brand-name medicines. Often health insurance plans require patients to switch to generics as a way of controlling costs. But journalist Katherine Eban warns that some of these medications might not be as safe, or effective, as we think.

States Bring Price Fixing Suit Against Generic Drug Makers

May 13, 2019

Attorneys general from more than 40 states are alleging the nation's largest generic drug manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate and manipulate prices for more than 100 different generic drugs, including treatments for diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other medical conditions. 

DAYLINA MILLER / WUSF

A controversial bill (HB 19) that would allow for the importation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada into Florida now sits on Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk.

META VIERS / Miami Herald

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average Americans spend $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, which is more than any other developed country in the world.

Canadian Drug Imports Could Get Go-Ahead

Apr 29, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada inched closer to passage Friday in the Senate. 

A bill would allow prescription drugs from Canada to be purchased by the Agency for Health Care Administration and imported for use. The hope is that importing the inexpensive drugs will cut down cost for patients.

House Approves Canadian Drug Imports

Apr 12, 2019

Drugs from Canada could be imported into Florida if the federal government agrees, under a bill that passed the state House on Thursday. 

As the heat turns up on drug manufacturers who determine the price of insulin and the health insurers and middlemen who determine what patients pay, one company — Cigna's Express Scripts — announced Wednesday it will take steps by the end of the year to help limit the drug's cost to consumers.

Express Scripts, which manages prescription drug insurance for more than 80 million people, is launching a "patient assurance program" that Steve Miller, Cigna's chief clinical officer, says "caps the copay for a patient at $25 a month for their insulin — no matter what."

Herald Archive

Two of Florida’s leaders have very different ideas about how to make medications more affordable for patients.

Florida Senator Rick Scott introduced the Transparent Drug Pricing Act which would require drug companies to list out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

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