According to GHLF Executive Director Louis Tharp, “This disturbing finding is not a simple case of switching a brand-name drug for a generic one, a common and generally accepted practice used for many illnesses, and one GHLF supports. We found that health insurance companies through the U.S. switch one brand-name drug for another simply because the switched drug is cheaper.”
The survey also found instances of patients with chronic conditions who were responding well to a particular drug, but relapse after being switched to a cheaper drug.
GHLF is conducting an additional national survey to measure the incidence of what are known as “fail first practices” where health insurers require a patient to fail on a cheaper drug before being considered for the original drug their physician has prescribed. The Foundation provides a website, http://www.failfirsthurts.org/, that offers information on how patients can avoid having prescription drugs switched by health insurance companies, and how to effectively complain when it happens.