Alaska Body Slams Non-Generic Drugs
The State of Alaska body puts an end to the very expensive brand name drugs . My hat is off to Alaska’s Workers Compensation system. A bill was recently pass that REQUIRES generic drugs in all Workers Compensation cases. This very smart political move will save the employers in AK millions every year.
According to the NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance), Alaska saw a sharp increase in how much of Workers Comp claims were due to medical costs. In 1988, medical costs were 48% of claims. That figure has increased to 58% by 2008. Of course, who bears the brunt of these increases – the employers paying in Workers Compensation premiums.
One of the interesting parts of the rule is the employee can still have the name brand drug. The insurance carrier or TPA will have to reimburse the employee or pharmacy for the generic version. The employee will be required to make up the difference.
There has been a debate on whether generic drugs actually are as effective as brand name medications. The following is from Ask The Pharmacist at drugstore.com.
When scientists develop a new drug, they give it a generic name reflecting its chemical makeup. Once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the drug, the manufacturer markets it with a brand or trade name, which is usually shorter and easier to remember. A drug company can hold exclusive patent rights to make a drug for 20 years after its discovery. After that, other companies can start making generic versions of the drug.
Are generic drugs safe?
In almost all cases, generics work as well as their brand-name siblings, and often cost considerably less. This is possible not because of lower quality, but because research and advertising costs are much less for generics. Many insurance plans encourage you to accept the generic version of a drug whenever it’s medically safe. Most states let pharmacists substitute a generic when appropriate and when your doctor approves it. Our pharmacy is located in New Jersey, so we only substitute generic drugs approved under New Jersey law.
When shouldn’t generics be substituted for brand-name drugs?
Very few drugs have a “narrow therapeutic index,” meaning that a small variation in dose can cause problems, such as too little effectiveness or too many side effects. With some drugs, including phenytoin (brand name Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex sodium (Depakote), digoxin (Lanoxin), warfarin (Coumadin), lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith), levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl), and theophylline (Theo-Dur), you shouldn’t switch from brand to generic—or vice versa—without your doctor’s approval and close supervision. Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or both before asking for a substitute.
The above passages may be a great thing to print out and give to any employee that is insisting on brand name medications. The Google search can be found at http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=generic+versus+brand+name+drugs&aq=0&aqi=g8&aql=&oq=generic+versus+&gs_rfai=
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