Free Prescription Drugs

North Carolina's largest health insurance company is providing free generic prescription drugs to about 1 million members.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Monday that Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to drop co-payments for generic drugs between Jan. 1 and June 30. The program is to encourage members to switch to cheaper medicines.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield vice president Ron Smith says the company doesn't want people to have to choose between paying for medicine and paying bills.

The company says a similar program in 2006 saved members about $50 million. The company expects members to save about $10 million this time, because there are more limits. The program is not available to groups where Blue Cross only administers coverage, including state and federal workers.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Rhonda Location: North Carolina on Dec 9, 2008 at 12:17 PM
    Generic pills are not the same. My son was hospitalized after changing his coumadin to warfarin. This change was made at the doctor's request. People be careful...
  • by Mary Location: North Carolina on Dec 9, 2008 at 03:55 AM
    My husband took a heart drug that was terribly expensive. His doctor changed it so he could get a generic drug. The makeup of the drug was the same, but the ingredients to "hold" the pill together was different. He had a sever reaction to that part of the drug. We were told that it was rare that this happens, but it does happen.
  • by Citizen Doug Location: All over the couch on Dec 8, 2008 at 05:24 PM
    My Dad refuses to take generics because they are "a different color" than the "real" medicine.
  • by reader Location: nc on Dec 8, 2008 at 10:11 AM
    It depends on the drug, whether the generic is ok.I know a man who took generic heart medicine because the name brand was $235.00 a month ( and that's with insurance). He had so many side effects from the generic that he almost had a heart attack. Please check with your doctor BEFORE they write the RX. Most of the time the active ingredients are the same, but then again you never know. It's a shame that a medicine costs that much. It's highway robbery!!!
  • by K on Dec 8, 2008 at 10:10 AM
    Generic and brand name drugs have the same active ingredient, so yes they work the same way. BCBS does this every couple of years, so they know what they're in for. If one customer switches from a $200 brand to a $10 generic, the savings for BCBS will cover that freebie and others. They're looking for long-term savings at a perfect time- when people are trying to save $$. If people know that they can get generics for free, they'll not only stop insisting on brand name meds, they'll also be more likely to ask their providers to prescribe something available in generic.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 8, 2008 at 09:44 AM
    Do generic drugs work the same way as the non generic? That is something that people need to ask their doctors about. Some say yes, some say no. Also, who will have to pick up the slack in the payments? Will the drug company be filing bankruptcy next year because of their free for all? Saying that more people than they thought wanted the free medication? I am so confused at the way the economy is. Same people will be crying wolf next month who give something free or drop down a price.
  • by betty Location: cortland on Dec 8, 2008 at 07:28 AM
    I think this is wonderful. However; I do think ALL insurance companies should be doing the same thing. No one should have to choose between paying for medicine and paying bills. Thank you for speaking up Mr. Ron Smith.

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