by: By Katie Lannan, State House News Service

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BOSTON (SHNS) – Prescription drug coupon programs have expanded in Massachusetts over the past several years, according to a new analysis by a state agency that found such discounts can have implications for both spending and clinical outcomes.

A July report from the Health Policy Commission concluded that drug coupons increase use of and spending on certain drugs where lower-cost generic alternatives would be appropriate for many patients. It also found that coupons can provide financial relief and help boost adherence for patients who cannot afford medications because of high drug prices and substantial cost-sharing in their health insurance.

The commission’s report, which HPC executive director David Seltz was scheduled to present Tuesday to the Massachusetts Health Council, was required under a 2018 law that extended authorization for certain prescription drug coupons. The report says that manufacturers offer coupons almost exclusively on branded drugs, which account for 10 percent of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but 79 percent of total drug spending.

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