Brand-Name Plavix Now Available at Low Cost

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Clopidogrel is a drug that is used to inhibit blood clots in people with coronary artery disease and various related conditions. It is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi under the trade name Plavix. It is one of the world's top-selling drugs, with total sales in 2010 of about $9.4 billion. However, its patent protection has expired and its price and profitability are expected to plunge because of competition from less expensive generic drugs.

In May 2012, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi began offering a Plavix Choice program that would enable uninsured consumers to get brand-name Plavix for $37 per month through the end of 2012. Without insurance, a 30-day supply of brand-name Plavix costs between $6.00 and $8.50 per day and the prices of generic versions vary wildly from about $30 to $180.

Prospective enrollees are directed to a Web site that describes the program and enables them to begin the registration process. There are two ways to enroll. One is to get a Plavix Choice Card that can be used (together with your prescription) at a participating pharnacy. The other way is to enroll in a mail-order program operted by Direct Success.

 

In May, Direct Success told callers that nobody who has Medicare (or another Government program) is eligible for the discounteven if the person has no drug coverage. After I complained to Bristol Meyers Squibb, the error got corrected so that the discounted price is now available for home delivery. There was also a problem with activating the Plavix Choice card online, but this was also fixed after I called it to Bristol-Meyers Squibb's attention.

The bottom line is that this program is a terrific opportunity to get the brand-name version at a very reasonable price.

This article was revised on July 13, 2012.

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