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Physician: Insurers depriving patients of effective treatments

I continually find that insurance companies are making dangerous and potentially fatal decisions. To get a medication approved, a doctor must get a prior authorization.

In the last few weeks I have experienced the following:

n A patient with a history of opiate addiction had been stable on Suboxone for well over a year. The insurance company abruptly stopped the prescription, and within two days, due to intense withdrawal symptoms, the patient had relapsed with heroin.

n A patient went without diabetic medication for almost two weeks awaiting prior authorization.

n A patient with a skin condition had a medication stopped because the insurance would not pay for the generic version, only the brand. Instead of just changing the medication, the insurance company stopped it for 11 days until the brand was approved with a recurrence of the rash.

n Multiple patients have had their anti-depressants and sleep medications stopped, and were told the prescriptions would not be approved until they tried again with medications that had already failed.

The bottom line is to deprive patients of effective treatments so insurance companies can show better dividends to their stockholders. This is being done at the expense of our patients’ health and well being.

Dr. Mitchell BanksMelville