7 Investigates: Despite delay, MA drug coupon program approved

It’s a difficult road back from heart failure.

“After surviving heart failure, statistically you have 5 years left,” says Peter LaCrosse.

Peter is staying positive.

“I don’t believe in statistics and neither does my cardiologist,” says Peter.

But he’s getting weighed down by worry, that he can’t afford the medicines that are helping his heart.

“One of them has a $600 copay, one has $300. No one can afford a $600 copay,” says Peter. “I don’t care who you are or what you do.”

Peter had found a way to cover the costs of his medicines. He used coupons from the drug maker’s website.

“I printed out a little card, similar to your insurance card and I brought that to the pharmacist. She said, oh your copay is $10,” says Peter.

For years, the coupons cut his costs and his stress.

But then something changed.

“I went to refill a prescription a couple weeks ago and lo and behold, they said coupons aren’t allowed in MA anymore,” says Peter.

What happened?

For 8 years, Peter and other people in Massachusetts, had their drug coupons accepted because the legislature kept renewing the law that allowed them.

But last year, there was a gap of a few months where the law expired, and coupons were denied.

“Something like this, somebody just missed it,” says James McSweeney, a healthcare expert at Comprehensive Insurance Providers, Inc.

The law was eventually renewed, but by then many pharmacies had already told their employees not to accept the coupons.

“They are still not up to speed on the fact that they have to accept these coupons,” says McSweeney.

McSweeney says don’t take no for an answer at your pharmacy, but if there is still confusion, call your local lawmaker who can contact the pharmacy and set the record straight.

We reached out to Peter’s pharmacy and let them know the coupon law was back in place and they are now accepting Peter’s coupons again.

“I am so grateful for this. The stress level has just gone away. Only happy times now,” says Peter.

It’s important to note that under Massachusetts law those drug maker coupons can only be used on drugs that do not have a generic – cheaper – option.

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