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Drug Switching

July 31st, 2009 by flanews

Everyday thousand of Floridians walk into the pharmacy expecting one drug only to walk out with something different. Its called drug switching, and as Whitney Ray tells us, its perfectly legal in Florida but medical professionals are seeking change.

When Rose Delaney came down with Pneumonia her doctor wrote her a prescription for a powerful antibiotic. But when she went to get the prescription filled, her pharmacist gave her a weaker drug.

I was so ill at the time I was just thinking Im just not understanding this, said Delaney.

Rose was the victim of drug switching. A practice started by insurance companies to save money by switching original drugs to cheaper generic or sometimes a completely different drug. Since Roses insurance wouldnt pay for the stronger drug, she had to take the weaker antibiotic and her pneumonia stayed with her for three months.

I actually even fractured a rib because my cough had gotten so bad, said Delaney.

Drug switching can be even more dangerous for patients suffering from Mental illnesses or neurological disorders.

Neurologist Lucas Koberda says the medication he prescribes his patients is so specific, a slight change in the chemical makeup can cause major problems.

Even generic brands between themselves they may differ a lot especially for the patients with epilepsy its very crucial and important that the medication which are brand or trade names are not substituted by genetic medication, said Keberda.

Three states have already passed legislation to ban drug switching for epilepsy patients. Last year legislation to prevent the practice was filed, but never taken up by the Florida legislature.

There are some things to you can do to make sure you prescription isnt switched. Have your doctor write DAW on the prescription. It means dispense as written. The note will direct your pharmacist to follow the doctors orders but it doesnt mean your insurance company will pay for the drug.

Posted in Health, Insurance, State News | 3 Comments »

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