Physicians: Insurers have taken control

KEY TAKEAWAY: When it comes to prescribing medications for patients, physicians say overwhelmingly that “insurers dictate what to prescribe” and patients are caught in the middle even when they request a certain branded medication.

Last week we conducted some ad boards with physicians, GP’s, and they said that more and more insurers are forcing a lot of paperwork on them to prescribe certain medications and it’s taking too much of their time.  The research was conducted here in Florida along with Massachusetts and California.  Key takeaways:

1ne: Even when patients request certain medications they often are overruled by their insurers.  Most patients will opt for medications that are less expensive versus branded products that cost more.

2wo: The physicians we spoke to were neutral on DTC ads.  Some felt they were conversation starters, while others said they very rarely had a patient request a medication they didn’t need.

3hree: Insurers are overwhelming some doctors with paperwork to justify Rx’s.  They all said that it was contributing to less time with patients and was often adding more workloads on staff.

4our: Coordinating the fulfillment of an Rx with the pharmacy, insurer and patient are leading to a lot of patients who have decided “to look at other treatment options” such as generic medications.

5ive: The majority of the physicians said that “pharma has done little” to help patients get on therapy and the ones that are using “contract call centers” are dropping the ball too often.

Like the articles that have been circulating online almost every physician said that they believe the days of “for profit health insurance” are coming.  They agree that a single payer is the answer, but they worry about the bureaucracy, it might bring along with limitations on what drugs are prescribed.  Interestingly enough, when we asked if insurers had patients’ interests as a priority they overwhelmingly said “no” and that “profit” was more important.

After listening and watching it is clear that the younger physicians are less tolerant of the current healthcare system.  However, doctors who have been in practice for more than 10 years are more pessimistic that our healthcare system can improve in the short term.