Obamacare is not the only way the Congress authorizes federal bureaucrats to drive up the cost of health care. Congress also passes feel good laws authorizing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to impose regulations on doctors. For example, the FDA issued a new "guidance" in response to a new law giving the agency new authority to regulate compounding. (For those who do not now, compounding is the process by which pharmacies create products designed to fill the particular needs of an individual patient.)
The new FDA "guidance" requires "... a patient-specific prescription for all drugs compounded." While this may seem like a sensible requirement, in fact it will not reduce the risk of drug contamination, and will have certain other unintended consensuses. Retina Surgeon Dr. Brian Joondeph explains how this regulation will negatively affect his patients:
But once the retina surgeon examines the patient and determines that they need an injection, instead of using a prerecorded syringe from their inventory, they will instead have to send a prescription to the compounding pharmacy and have the patient return on a separate day for their injection. For a patient receiving monthly injections, this translates to 24 office visits rather than 12 each year. Depending on insurance, there may be a copayment for each visit. Not to mention the friend or family member doubling their driving duties and the physician further loading their already busy patient schedules. Imagine going to the family doctor for a flu shot and after a quick exam, having to return a week later for the shot after the doctor writes a prescription for it rather than simply pulling a vial of flu vaccine from the refrigerator and giving the injection.
The simple alternative for the surgeon is to abandon any intention of being a good steward of societal and patient monies by simply using the FDA approved, but far more expensive, drugs. This avoids the hassle of writing several hundred injection prescriptions each month and making patients return a week later for each injection. Good financial stewardship of government money loses appeal when the government complicates the physician’s business processes by such mandates. And when the government threatens physicians with a 30 percent cut in reimbursement via the SGR cuts, why should physicians jump through hoops to save Medicare a few dollars?
Aside from costing Medicare additional billions by using the more expensive drugs, what about patient copayments? Medicare pays 80 percent of the drug cost, leaving patients with a $400 copayment on a $2000 per-dose drug. Elderly patients have a choice between going broke with the expensive drug or doubling their office appointments to receive the inexpensive drug.
So these new "guidance" will force doctors to either use more expensive drugs or make their patients come in for more visits....anyone want to explain why we need Congress and the FDA regulating our health care?
Tags: FDA, health care