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Medication Coupons: Massachusetts May Reconsider Ban On Drug Coupons

As you know, Massachusetts is the only state in the Union that prohibits the use of medication coupons.

Activist groups such as Healthcare For All claim that the use of medication coupons drive up the price of drugs by encouraging people to use expensive brand name medications.A recent posting on the Healthcare For Everyone blog, Why Drug Coupons Are A Bad Deal For Massachusetts; 5/22/2011 states that:

... Drug coupons are a way to entice consumers into purchasing more expensive brand-name drugs, where the biggest beneficiaries are the drug companies ..."

In all fairness, the same blog posting published an opposing point of view:

coupons will not result in a greater amount of branded prescriptions- the kickbacks [law] prevent this. What it does do, is it helps patients who cannot afford their copays.Unfortunately, brand name drugs are too expensive, but often necessay. Let’s let the patients get this benefit instead of choosing copays over groceries. The coupons have zero effect on the cost of medicine, or the utilization of generics ..."

In any case, the tide may be beginning to turn.As reported two weeks ago on the WWLP Channell 22 website:

... Doctors, pharmacists and patients urged lawmakers Tuesday to remove a ban on coupons and discounts for prescription medications, arguing it is an unfair for Massachusetts residents to be the only people in the country unable to take advantage of drug manufacturer price breaks ..."

The article goes on to state thw two sides of the equation, activists claim medication coupons drive prices up and patient groups claim the duscounts save money, especially during difficult times.

Here are the facts:

- Many coupons are for drugs that have no generic equivalents.If you live in Massachusetts and you take Crestor, for instance, why should you be punished by not being allowed to use a Crestor Coupon.

- Another consideration is what if your insurance company does not cover a drug that you need to survive?Why should you pay full price for a medication if the drug company is compassionate enough to offer a coupon.Who is being hurt?

- People who want drug coupons will find a way to use them. Patients that live close to the Massachusetts state border drive across the border to take advantage of drug coupons. The people who are the poorest and don't have cars ( elderly patients, immobile patients, inner city patients) are the ones who suffer the most.

If you livein Massachusetts, please contact your state senator and ask them to allow medication coupons.The more people who write, the better your chances of overturning this silly ban.

One thing you can do is to visit MassRxHelp.Org and learn more about the situation

Another thing you can do is to contact your state senate representative. Here is a list of Massachusetts State senators and their contacvt numbers.Call or write them today and plead with them to allow drug coupons.

Baddour, Steven

Berry, Frederick

Brewer, Stephen

Candaras, Gale

Chandler, Harriette

Chang-Diaz, Sonia

Clark, Katherine

Creem, Cynthia

DiDomenico, Sal

Donnelly, Kenneth

Donoghue, Eileen

Downing, Benjamin

Eldridge, James

Fargo, Susan

Finegold, Barry

Flanagan, Jennifer

Hart, John

Hedlund, Robert

Jehlen, Patricia

Joyce, Brian

Keenan, John

Kennedy, Thomas

Knapik, Michael

McGee, Thomas

Montigny, Mark

Moore, Michael

Moore, Richard

Murray, Therese