It’s no secret that drug manufacturers and distributors earn incredible profit margins on medication sales. Even when generic versions are often available, these manufacturers continue touting the most expensive (i.e., patented) drug as more effective. That’s why CVS/Caremark made waves last year when it removed popular leukemia drug Tasigna from its 2017 formulary list. Here, we’ll explore which pharmacies dropped the blockbuster drug from their 2018 formulary lists.
Which Pharmacies Removed Tasigna From Their 2018 Formulary Lists?
Formulary lists are one way that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) control budget spending on prescription drug costs. One of the largest PBMs, Express Scripts, negotiates drug costs directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers. They do this to make much-needed medications less expensive for consumers, but also to promote the safest treatment options available. In a press release, Express Scripts noted they only exclude drugs from the formulary that have a clinically equivalent alternative. They want to give their loyal customers access to the best and most effective medications each year. Which is why they decided to remove Tasigna from the 2017 formulary list but included its predecessor, Gleevec.
Tasigna’s still listed on the following 2018 formulary lists and insurance plans:
- Medicare (tier 4 drug plans)
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield (tier 5 drug plans)
- Cigna (tier 4 drug plans)
However, the 2018 CVS/Caremark formulary list does include Gleevec’s generic formulation, imatinib mesylate. Not only is this generic drug less expensive for treating chronic myeloid leukemia, but studies show it’s safer and carries fewer side effect risks. Since Gleevec preceded Tasigna as the most effective CML drug available, CVS has nothing to lose offering the generic version. Leukemia patients can still get the treatment they need with the generic first-generation TKI drug. But if they or their doctors insist on excluded drugs (such as Tasigna or brand-name Gleevec), they’ll pay the full, uninsured cash price.
If you’re currently taking Tasigna, ask your pharmacist or insurance provider about any 2018 changes that may affect you. Every year, your insurance plan or preferred pharmacy’s formulary list usually adds or removes certain drugs. It’s important to be aware of these changes so you can speak to your doctor about any potential side effects.
How Tasigna Victims Can Get Justice and Compensation for Heart Damage
Recent medical studies linked Tasigna to rapid-onset coronary artery disease. Countless individuals reported severe cardiovascular symptoms, including:
- Heart attacks
- Sudden death
- Atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease)
- Heart failure
Multiple patients allege that weren’t warned about Tasigna’s potential cardiovascular dangers. As a result, plaintiffs are suing Tasigna’s manufacturer under failure to warn claims. In 2015, Tasigna’s manufacturer, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, paid $370 million to settle civil fraud, illegal drug marketing and kickback scheme allegations. If you or someone you love developed atherosclerosis or other heart problems after starting Tasigna, you may qualify for compensation. To see if you may qualify for a cash settlement from the manufacturer, get your free claim evaluation online now. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced lawyer will call to discuss possible next steps for filing your compensation claim.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.