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Editor's Correspondence
Sep 26, 2011

The True Cost of Discounted Medication Programs

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Pharmacy Practice, Northeastern University School of Pharmacy, Boston, Massachusetts.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(17):1595-1596. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.411

The recent research letter by Zhang et al1 calculated the potential savings to the patient, Medicare, and society with greater use of discounted medication programs. The authors suggest encouraging the use of these programs to the small proportion of patients who would achieve the greatest savings. The estimated cost savings to the patient is overstated because the cost to enroll in the discount program as well as the cost to travel to the additional pharmacy is not considered. The cost savings to Medicare is also inflated because the authors do not account for the donut hole, which will not be completely eliminated until 2020.

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