Insurers Recruiting Former Pharma Reps to Cut Costs

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Former pharma reps are educating doctors about the costs of medications and encouraging the use of generics.
Former pharma reps are educating doctors about the costs of medications and encouraging the use of generics.

HealthDay News — Health insurers are recruiting former pharmaceutical company representatives to educate doctors and help save money on prescription medications, according to a report published June 8 in Kaiser Health News.

Noting that costs for prescription drugs have been rising faster than those for any other health segment, health plans and others paying those costs are trying to address the increases.

Capital District Physicians' Health Plan (CDPHP), an Albany, NY, insurer, is hiring former pharma representatives and staffing a sales force to develop cost-effective medicine. They have been able to address rising costs of prescription medications, such as Glumetza (metformin hydrochloride), manufactured by Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which reached a price of $81,270 per year. When CDPHP doctors were informed of the price, most of the 60 plan members who were taking Glumetza were switched to the generic alternative, saving $5 million in 1 year.

"Insurers are taking matters into their own hands," said Lea Prevel Katsanis, a marketing professor at Concordia University in Montreal, according to the article. "They're saying, 'We can't really rely on drug companies to talk to doctors about what's cost-efficient.'"

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Reference

Hancock J. Former pharma reps' new mission: to school docs on high drug costs. Kaiser Health News. June 8, 2017. Accessed June 19, 2017.

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