Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pay More for Less Migraine Medication?

I switched one of my Migraine medications after my last doctor's visit. Using the insurance companies on-line 'price a medication' function for my group, I decided I would do multiple breakouts on the cost of this medication at various dosage levels.

This would help me get ready for my next doctor's visit and to see how much my mail in pharmacy would charge me if this Migraine medication has hope of working.

I found the results very, very interesting.

I started off the new Migraine medication at 50 mg, but had to titrate up from 25 first. I have since had to increase it to 75 mg. This medication comes in 25, 50 and 100 mg capsules. I priced it here from 50 mg to 100 mg.

At 50 mg, there are two ways to get to this dosage; two 25 mg capsules OR one 50 mg capsule. The two 25 mg capsules would cost 41.6% more than the one 50 mg capsule. In this case it would be more cost effective to get the one 50 mg capsule.

50 mg: 2-25mg OR 1-50mg
. 2-25mg > 1-50mg :
. it costs 41.6% more to get 2-25mg capsules vs 1-50mg capsule

At 75 mg, there are two ways to make up this dosage; three 25 mg capsules OR one 25 and 50 mg capsules. There wasn't much of a difference with this comparison. The one 25 and 50 mg capsules were only 1.2% more than the three 25 mg capsules.

75 mg: 3-25mg OR 1-25mg + 1-50mg
. 1-25mg + 1-50mg > 3-75mg :
. it costs 1.2% more to get 1-25mg + 1-50mg vs 3-75mg capsules

There are three ways to get to a 100 mg dosage; four 25 mg capsules OR two 50 mg capsules OR one 100 mg capsule. I thought this had the most surprising result. One 100 mg capsule cost 33.9% more than four 25 mg capsules while four 25 mg capsules are 57.5% more than two 50 mg capsules. However, the one 100 mg capsule is a whopping 110.7% MORE than two 50 mg capsules. The least expensive way to get this Migraine medication at 100 mg would be to order two 50 mg capsules per day instead of one 100 mg capsule or four 25 mg capsules.

With my insurance, it would cost me over TWO times more if I got just one 100 mg capsule instead of two 50 mg capsules - the same dosage of medication.

100 mg: 4-25mg OR 2-50mg OR 1-100mg
. 1-100mg > 4-25mg :
. it costs 33.9% more to get 1-100mg vs 4-25mg capsules

. 4-25mg > 2-50mg :
. it costs 57.5% more to get 4-25mg vs 2-50mg capsules

. 1-100mg > 2-50mg :
. it costs 110.7% more to get 1-100mg vs 2-50mg capsules
. or over 2x's more to get 1-100mg capsule than 2-50mg capsules

We should all review all of our Migraine and other medication costs whether we get them filled at a pharmacy or through mail order. It may be worth it to do these price comparisons between the different dosages even if you have to ask a pharmacist and can't get those prices on-line.

My next obstacle is that I am currently at 75 mg. What if this is a good dosage for me? At 75 mg, I would pay 18.1% more out of pocket for this prescription than if I got 100 mg using two 50 mg capsules. It's something to think about, but my decision would be to pay more for less because I know I can't split the capsules and more importantly, I really wouldn't want to take more of this Migraine medication than I really need to - even if it costs me a little more.

I just found this whole cost comparison very fascinating. Hopefully I didn't lose you too much with all of these numbers. I didn't include the Migraine medication name I take because it doesn't make any difference what it is since we should be looking at these types of cost comparisons for all of our medications.

Did you find any big differences from your inquiries?


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

That's amazing and counterintuitive. Do you suppose that's what drug companies intend??

MigrainePuppet said...

I am still stunned by this find. I have tried to keep positive thoughts about this, but I can't. I think this is intentional.

It makes the most sense to order 1-100mg pill instead of 2-50mg pills to be taken at the same time. But 110% more? That is incredible!!