Campaign 2010

May 01, 2004

Surprise, Surprise

Associated Press:

Sponsors of the new Medicare drug discount card on Friday said some prices are wrong on the online prescription price comparison that the Bush administration rolled out a day earlier.

“Everybody seems to be finding problems with inaccuracies with the posted prices,” said Walgreens’ spokeswoman Laurie Meyer.

Prices for generic drugs offered by the Walgreens’ drug card “were noticeably higher,” Meyer said. “They were wrong.”

[...]

The Web site is managed by DestinationRx, a small, California-based company that Medicare hired without seeking bids…

For guys that talk about “the virtues of competition” as a mantra, they sure seem a bit slow on the learning curve about no-bid contracts.  Later, same article:

While the Bush administration was touting the savings offered by the new cards, the best prices on the Medicare Web site also were available Thursday at such online pharmacies as Washington state-based drugstore.com.

The best Medicare mail order prices for three best-selling brand name drugs — the arthritis drug Celebrex, the osteoporosis drug Fosamax and cholesterol-lowering Lipitor — were at least a third higher than prices at the three Canadian pharmacies listed on the State of Wisconsin’s online prescription drug resource center.

Congressional Democrats opposed the Medicare law as a giveaway to drug companies and insurers. They said legalizing drug imports from Canada and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies would bring prices down.

House Democrats and Families USA, a consumer health care group, released separate studies Thursday showing that prices negotiated by the Veterans Administration also were well below those offered by Medicare discount cards.

Democrats also said the savings claimed by the administration would be eaten up by drug price increases that far outpace inflation.

“A 10 or even 20 percent discount doesn’t do much when drug prices increase 15 or 20 percent in a year,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.

$534 billion, out of your pocket.

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