Switching drugs can make you 0 but possibly hurt your health care
Switching drugs can make you 0 but possibly hurt your health care

If you take Cosentyx, you already might have discovered that your health insurance might no longer cover the injection used to treat the skin disorder psoriasis.

Health-care giant Cigna, which sells insurance and owns pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, removed Cosentyx from almost all of its formularies – the lists of drugs it covers.

Formulary exclusions: Decisions by PBMs make vital drugs unaffordable for many patients, doctors say

While such non-medical switching has become increasingly common in the PBM/health insurance world, this time Cigna went a step further than other companies – offering customers a $500 debit card to change to one of the drugs it prefers.

The move by the $168 billion company based in Connecticut sparked outrage among patient advocates.

“This non-medical advice, paired with a financial incentive for the express purpose of moving a stable patient to a different drug, circumvents shared decision-making in the provider-patient relationship and undermines the doctor’s advice on what medicines and treatments are best,” said an April 16 missive to Cigna’s chief medical officer from more than five dozen groups.