August 01, 2001
St. Petersburg Times carries a Wall Street Journal
on "Little Know Option: To Cut Costs, Cut Pills" which
says, in part:
Pill splitting is a deceptively
simple way to save money on drugs,
but few consumers or even doctors are aware that its an option.
A quirk in the way drugs are manufactured and priced means
many drugs cost about the same per pill, regardless
of the dosage.
As a result, patients who buy a larger pill that contains twice the
dose they need can cut it in half
and save as much as 50% percent
of the cost.
A patient who needs a 75 milligram does of Pfizer's anti-depressant
would pay $6.66 to take three 25 milligram pills. But
splitting a combination of 100 milligram and 50 milligram pills
achieve a 75 milligram dose lowers the cost to $2.53, a savings
of 62% percent - more then $1,500.00 annually!!
that many uninsured patients have several prescriptions,
the annual savings from pill splitting can add up to thousands
dollars per year.
Splitting pills as a way to lower drug costs is controversial. Some
pills - such as
capsulets or extended-release tablets - can't be
cut in half. And some pharmaceuticals executives say it's
to suggest pill splitting as an option for saving money,
because consumers may split the wrong pill.
"Once you establish
a precedent that medicine can be split,
people might make the mistake of splitting one that can't," said
Mar Horn, director
of medical alliances for Pfizer. "Someone
will get into trouble."
It's the way pills are manufactured and priced that makes pill
splitting possible. Many pills are "scored"
- manufactured with an
indented line down the middle - for the sole purpose of allowing
them to be cut in half.
Drug firms score pills to give doctor's
flexibility to adjust a patient's dosage so pharmacies don't
have to stock dozens
of those sizes.
Many drugs are priced the same regardless of the dose
because drugmakers don't want cost to be a
doctor's are deciding how much of a drug to prescribe.
Although some patients may worry the splitting
of pills will
results in an uneven cut and a dose that is slightly high or
low, Rogers said those variations rarely
Only your doctor can prescribe a larger-dose pill, so patients must
discuss pill-splitting with
a physician (i.e. ask for the large dosage
medication IF the doctor says that pill can be split).
sense to me!!