Back To The Future

I present for your consideration a very interesting, make that sort of shocking, blog post. Here, you will see a physician very understandably and vociferously complaining about two related thorns in her side, i.e., Prior Authorization requirements by insurance companies and drug prices. We haven’t talked much about PA. But when I stop to think about it, making a patient wait 48-72 hours to get authorization for a medically necessary drug is sort of unconscionable. Decades ago, when I was the father of a 6-month old who would regularly pierce the night with screams from ear infections, I would have gone ballistic if an insurance company had made us wait for three days to get the drug that my son (and my wife and I!!!) needed. But such is the reality of pediatric practice in 2018. This problem is exacerbated by the out-of-pocket price that patients have to pay at pharmacy for drugs if they choose to circumvent PA. For many patients and for many drugs, especially those requiring PA, the prices at retail are literally unaffordable. So, what has this doctor decided to do to make this all good? She has started buying generics online and selling them to her patients at cost. Her state, as do many, allows physicians to dispense medications directly  to patients, a practice that was relatively common well into the 1960’s. The medicines are immediately available, and the price savings are huge. Bottom Line. And there you have it. A pair of goofy aspects of medicine in 2018, PA and skyrocketing drug prices, both dealt with by this doctor simply by returning to the way things used to work. All of which leaves me wondering how many other current “problems” could be eradicated in a similar manner!!!

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