Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 28, 2012

Editorial: Coupons bring down prices


---- — If you always felt you were taking a beating every time you had to come up with the co-pay for brand-name prescription medications, congratulations: You were right.

With many of their best customers buying generic copycats of top drugs like cholesterol-fighting Lipitor, blood thinner Plavix and blood pressure drug Diovan, drug companies are offering co-pay coupons that can bring insured patients medicines for as little as $4 a month.

Pfizer Inc. tested the new trend last year. Pfizer's Lipitor had been taken by more than 3.5 million Americans until generic competition arrived last Nov. 30. Drug firms typically have patents that give them exclusive rights to sell their drugs for 10 to 15 years. As patents expire, firms are trying to keep patients by bringing down prices to compete with generics.

Either way, patients are getting a price break, which should also be good for their health.