Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

TN Patients Struggle with Rising Prescription Drug Costs

Under current law, Tennessee patients can be required to use certain pharmacies to fill their prescriptions, but a bill in the state Legislature could change that.

On Tuesday, the House Insurance Subcommittee passed a bill to ban so-called “patient steering,” and increase transparency and regulation of drug pricing.

Davidson County resident Eben Cathey said his wife, who has ALS, recently was told she almost certainly would need to change pharmacies, and potentially switch providers, after enrolling in Medicare.

“And that comes with several barriers,” he said. “I mean, one, some of these providers and the pharmacists are not close to us. So, it’s going to be much more inconvenient to drive 40 minutes round trip, as opposed to a 10-minute round trip.”

House Bill 1398 would stop the companies that manage prescription benefits on behalf of health insurers – called pharmacy-benefit managers – from directing patients toward their preferred network of pharmacies, affiliated hospitals and providers. It also would allow people to get drug-cost information directly from pharmacies. Pharmacy-benefit managers argue their industry helps lower drug costs for patients.

In addition, the bill would free up data on drug pricing to provide accurate information to patients at the time of care. Cathey said he and his wife currently expect to pay up to $1,000 a month to cover prescription costs.

“Along with the uncertainty of seeing our network of support, and the providers and pharmacists that we’re used to seeing, we have a relationship with,” he said, “there’s also the extra burden of really high drug coverage costs.”

Cathey added that navigating the health-care system for someone with a complex and rare disease has taken a mental toll, as well.

“Dealing with a chronic illness is stressful enough,” he said. “So it’s really a shame that, in order to receive quality care, you have to move through another set of barriers.”

Between 2012 and 2017, the cost of the average Tennessean’s prescription drugs increased by 58%, and around 34% of residents say they’ve stopped taking a medicine they need because they can’t afford it, according to data from AARP.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. Current news director for On Target News and manager of Rooster 101.5 FM. Knott can be heard on 93.9 The Duck, The Rooster 101.5 and Whiskey Country 105.1 and 95.9. He is currently the play by play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders on The Rooster 101.5. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,500 sports events on Radio & TV. He also served 4 years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for 6 years at Grundy County High School.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top
X