The battle continues to rage between drug companies that are trying to make as much money as possible and insurers trying to drive down drug prices. And consumers are squarely in the middle.
That's because, increasingly, prescription insurers are threatening to kick drugs off their lists of approved medications if the manufacturers won't give them big discounts.
CVS Caremark and Express Scripts, the biggest prescription insurers, released their 2017 lists of approved drugs this month, and each also has long lists of excluded medications. Some of the drugs newly excluded are prescribed to treat diabetes and hepatitis. The CVS list also excludes some cancer drugs, along with Proventil and Ventolin, commonly prescribed brands of asthma inhalers, while Express Scripts has dropped Orencia, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis.
Such exclusions can take customers by surprise, says Lisa Gill, an editor at Consumer Reports' "Best Buy Drugs."