Wednesday, May 10, 2006

UnitedHealth Advice on Cutting Pill Cost: Split them

There is a pilot pill-splitting program run by UnitedHealth Group Inc. that started in Wisconsin last year and has now become a national effort in 2006. The program identifies sixteen drugs that UnitedHealth says are okay to split. The company goes further and gives patients a financial incentive to participate.

Lipitor, for example, costs $299.97 for 90 tablets, regardless of whether the dosage is 20, 40 or 80 milligrams. Go to to see for yourself.

Included on the list of drugs "suitable" for splitting are Lipitor, Zoloft, Zocor, and Mavik.

As you can imagine, drugmakers don't like this approach. According to the Bloomberg report, splitting pills can be dangerous for certain types of patients and for certain medicines, according to Jeff Trewhitt with Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

To read more, go here.