Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bill Gives Pharmacists Right to Switch Drugs; Some Oppose the Practice of Substituting a Cheaper Generic Version

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bill Gives Pharmacists Right to Switch Drugs; Some Oppose the Practice of Substituting a Cheaper Generic Version

Article excerpt

Byline: WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - Louis Sullivan, the former U.S. secretary of health and human services, blasted a practice by some insurance companies Wednesday to urge substitutions of generic drugs for more expensive brand names, and a Georgia bill that would make it legal.

House Bill 367 by state Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, would give druggists like Carter himself the power to switch medications if the doctor who wrote the original prescription authorizes it. Pharmacists would use lists supplied by a patient's insurance company to determine which drugs to swap.

Carter says his bill saves life-threatening time when an insurance company rejects the prescribed drug so a substitution can be made without having to contact busy physicians.

Speaking to a forum on health care sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Sullivan warned that so-called therapeutic substitutions are more than merely dispensing a generic version of a more expensive brand-name drug. Instead, a completely different type of drug goes home with a patient, one that has different properties and side effects than the original prescription. …

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