SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Specialty tier pricing that requires patients to pay as much as 35 percent of cost of a life-saving drug can quickly sap the resources of patients with chronic conditions.

Legislation by San Francisco Assemblywoman Fiona Ma would eliminate those specialty tiers, put a monthly cap on co-payments and limit out-of-pocket expenditures.

These newly developed medications often don’t have generic versions, and can wind up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars each month on top of already high premiums, said Stewart Ferry of the California Chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

That means difficult choices, he said.

“Going into debt, not paying their mortgage, going without some life necessities or making the decision to not take their medicine.”

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

The bill comes at a time when specialty tier pricing common in other states has started to take hold in California.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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