NU Online News Service, Dec. 17, 4:36 p.m. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit, is organizing a pilot program to see whether a consumer education campaign can increase use of low-cost generic drugs.
Michigan Blue is mailing coupons for generic drug purchases, and letters emphasizing the high quality of U.S. generic drugs, to 7,000 members of small groups covered by Michigan Blue.
Michigan Blue will waive copayment requirements when a member uses a coupon to switch one prescription to the generic equivalent of one of 25 popular brand-name drugs.
Michigan Blue says it developed the campaign in an effort to counter the effects of “direct to consumer” advertising for expensive, brand-name prescription drugs.
Pharmaceutical companies get patents, or temporary monopolies on the right to manufacture a drug, to compensate them for the high cost of developing and promoting new drugs. The manufacturers often set extremely high prices while the drugs are under patent, especially in the United States and other wealthy countries, to recoup their costs and generate profits.