Saturday, November 27, 2021


Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.


Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Drug Rebates Linked to Rising Prescription Drug Costs


Thursday, August 26, 2021   

DENVER -- The costs of prescription drugs continue to rise in Colorado and across the U.S., according to a new report from the Center for Improving Value in Health Care.

Cari Frank, vice president for communications at the Center, said the data suggests the rebates drug manufacturers offer to insurance companies, to defray the cost of certain medicines, may actually be contributing to higher spending levels.

"Drug rebates for prescription drugs are also rising," Frank pointed out. "And especially in both the brand and specialty drug arena, which are the most high-cost spending that we see in the state."

Prescription drug costs have become the fastest-rising health care expense in the U.S., and account for nearly one in every five dollars spent on health care in Colorado.

Drugmakers and insurance companies have defended rebates as an important tool to contain costs, but Frank countered it is difficult to know whether those savings are being passed along to employers and consumers.

Frank worried rebates could be providing an incentive for doctors to write prescriptions for higher-cost name-brand and specialty drugs, simply because they end up on insurers' preferred list of drugs covered.

"If they are actually using it to lower premiums, then that's terrific," Frank acknowledged. "But again, that's why we need more transparency around exactly how that transaction of rebate dollars fits into setting premiums and paying for prescription drugs."

Colorado lawmakers recently passed a bill requiring insurance payers to report rebates on specific medicines to a new Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which Frank said will help define where costs are rising and why.

Frank added patients can also help bring down costs. While some medicines are only available by their brand name, many have generic versions that are just as effective.

"It's not always possible to get a generic," Frank noted. "But definitely be asking your doctor, 'Can we please consider using the generic,' to lower overall costs for both patients and the health plans that are paying for it."

Disclosure: Center for Improving Value in Health Care contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Social Issues

PIERRE, S.D. -- Supporters of establishing recreational marijuana in South Dakota say they're pouring all their energy into a new ballot initiative…

Farming is Virginia's largest private industry, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Adobe Stock)


RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …

Social Issues

BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…

The mission of the 'Buy Nothing Project' is to promote the giving of goods and services within hyperlocal circles. (bfleeson/Pixabay)

Social Issues

AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …

Social Issues

DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021