Thursday, September 15, 2016

BJ taking drug program out of the USA

The Beacon Journal will do what some of its retirees, including me, have done for years when they hit the donut hole in insurance coverage: Take the prescription business out of the country.

In my case and with other BJ retirees, we got our prescriptions from Canadian pharmacies, which often got their drugs from other countries around the world, at as little as 20% of the cost for the drugs in America. In my case, I saved about $2,000 each year for the 4 or 5 months after I hit the donut hole by going to Canada instead of getting the drugs from companies in the USA.

I suspect more American companies will be doing what BJ management will do, starting September 1, for those who sign up for the program. Once enough go outside the USA for their prescriptions, then American Big Pharma might feel the pinch and get the message about exorbitant prices that cost taxpayers and customers millions more than in any other country.

When I inquired about ONE pill would cost me for my prescription, it was $14.95. Since it’s a 30-day prescription, that would come to $448.50 for ONE of my nine prescriptions. You do the math x 9.

In order to pay for a monthly prescription for Nexium, the acid reflux drug, an insurer in the United States pays, on average, $215 per customer. The same prescription in the Netherlands costs $23.

According to the International Federation of Health Plans, Americans pay anywhere from two to six times more than the rest of the world for brand name prescription drugs.

A friend told me that his ONE prescription increased to $36,000 a year when Big Pharma jacked up the price 50%.

The Milan Pharmaceuticals’ case that aroused so much uproar when it jacked up the Epi-Pen cost, a life-saving need for children and others allergic to bee stings and other bad things out in our world, to $600 for a pair when it costs $206.55 in Canada.

Incredibly, Medicare is prohibited from negotiating drug prices. The Big Pharma lobby with its hundreds of millions of dollars in political donations made that happen.

Fortunately, I won the healthcare class action lawsuit I filed against the BJ (as did 50 retired printers and 4 other Guild retirees), so I pay only $2 for every 30-day prescription, generic or brand name. So the BJ offer doesn’t do much for me.

But if you didn’t win the lawsuit against the BJ, this new voluntary arrangement for drugs from a Tier 1 country (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) means:

1.No co-payments for this prescription drug program ONLY.

2.No co-pays.

3.Medications must be tried for 30 days before ordering through ABJMeds.  

4.Allow 4 weeks for delivery.

If you didn’t get an application from the BJ, calls Human Resources Director Jay Hunter at (330) 996-3184.

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