Delzilcol Co-pay Costs

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Pillage Says:


Delzicol replaced Asacol as a treatment for llceratilve colitis last month. The change meant my co-pay for a month's prescription rose from $33 to $93. No one has been able to explain to me why my costs tripled for a medication that is essentially the same. Do others face ths problem? What are people doing about it?



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Pillage Says:

I am a Medicare subscriber who lives in Cambridge, Mass. I have supplemental health insurance through a Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred program. I suffer from ulcerative colitis which I can keep from flaring up by taking daily doses of mesalamine. For many years the mesalamine I've been prescribed has come frm Warner Chilcott under the brand name Asacol. Warner's patent on Asacol will expire this year, and the company has stopped offering it. Instead, it offers what it calls a new drug with the brand name Delzicol. Because Delzicol is offered as a new drug it falls into a non-formulary category, which means drug suppliers such as Tufts can charge for it outside the tiers of pricing that govern formulary drugs. I don't know what the process is that allows a non-formulary drug to become a formulary one. But I do know that as long as Delzicol remains a non-formulary drug my co-pay for it is three times what it was for Alsocal. Until this month I co-paid $33 for a month's supply. My co-pay now is $93 a month. The difference between Delzicol and Asacol is the substitution of one inert ingredient for another and a change in delivery method from a tablet to a capsule. Inside the Delzicol capsule is a tablet exactly the same shape and size and color as the tablet of Asacol I have taken for years. Tufts is not the only provider increasing its co-pay charge. Who outside the pharmaceutical industry regulates the non-formulary to formulary process? If there is no agency or organization or watchdog there should be. In lieu of outside oversight the industry is left to regulate itself. It should not need mentioning that the industry profits enormously when it can triple what it charges and answer to no one. Are others upset by this? To whom do we turn with our complaint? Tufts has informed me about its appeal process and advises me that should my appeal fail Medicare itself has a process for appeal. So far, I am too heartsick to scratch my complaint out on the Tufts' form (it can't be filled out on line; one must type or write by hand to fill it out). To the pharmacists at Harvard Vanguard/Cambridge where I fill my prescriptions I said the new charges were a rip off. They agreed.

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Jenna Says:

Hi Pillage,

I don't know a lot about this topic but I'll do my best to provide helpful information!

According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Delzicol is created by the same pharmaceutical company as Asacol (Warner Chilcott) and its indications are the same as Asacol. There was one inactive ingredient which was removed from Asacol known as “dibutyl phthalate†or DBP and another inactive ingredient was added in its place. My guess is that the new inactive ingredient may be more expensive, which would in turn, raise the price of the medication. Also, even though the pills look very similar I've read that there may be a difference in the way the coating is formulated which could very well up the price. However, in my opinion, the pharmaceutical industry can be quite money hungry so maybe this was a skeem to make more money from customers who need the medication. Who really knows for sure what they're up to. For specific questions about this medication, you can contact the Warner Chilcott medical information desk directly at 1-800-521-8813 ext. 3236.

I hope you find this information helpful, do you have anything else to add?

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Pillage Says:

Since I posted my complaint about the hike in co-pay costs for Delzicol my doctor has told me Tufts Preferred, my Medicare subsidiary, has added the medicine to its formulary list in the tier two category. That means my co-pay will return to what it was when my prescription called for Ascol. I don't know how this happened. I think a lot of people must have complained. I am very grateful.

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Susan Spencer Says:

Patients should ask their physician's to submit a letter of medical necessity to the company who administers their prescription coverage. Delzicol is really the same drug in a capsule and really the only bioequivalent and no generic is available at this time. The co's that administer the prescription coverage are not that clear on IBD and issue and and suggest alternatives to Asacol that are not choices for most for specific reasons people take Asacol. It needs to be spelled out that they are not bioequivalent choices by your doctor and no generics available. Strongly recommended to pursue this. Check CCFA website as well.

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Renato Pinto Says:

Ever thought of acquiring it outside the USA?

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Luanne Says:

I take ASACOL HD and it has become very, very expensive. I am in the donut now with my insurance. And it's the beginning of the year. I still have to reorder three more times. With 3 months supplies each. I hear that there are other pills Delzicol is one. But I here that it is more expensive. Is that true, I have AVMED. So I don't know what they will charge.

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