Mexican Drug Run

“It’s cheaper for us to pay for the drug down there, send them down there and then give them $500….”

Insurer to send customers to Mexico to buy drugs

Lyle Adriano

In a surprise decision, a Utah-based health insurer is planning to send its clients to Mexico to purchase cheaper drugs there.

Specifically, PEHP Health and Benefits says it will fly patients to San Diego, then drive them across the border to Tijuana, where they can pick up medication for much lower prices than America’s.

“We’re trying to be part of the solution in healthcare,” PEHP managing director Chet Loftis told KUTV.

Loftis assured that the arrangement is perfectly safe and legal, and that the medications being sold in Mexico are the same ones that can be found in the US.

“The hospital down there is an accredited hospital like any other in the United States,” he explained. “Certainly, we wouldn’t do something if we thought we were putting people at risk.”

Patients participating in the “pharmacy tourism” program will also receive a $500 cashback incentive, PEHP said.

“It’s cheaper for us to pay for the drug down there, send them down there and then give them $500 than it is for us to do it here,” remarked Loftis.

According to the insurer, the prescriptions in Mexico cost roughly half their American prices.

“From a cost perspective, the average drug within the program costs about $4,500 a month within the United States. Over the course of three months, that’s $13,500,” stated PEHP clinical operations director Travis Tolley. “At 40% to 60% off the top of that, we expect to pay roughly $6,000 for a three-month course of therapy.”

At present, there are 13 different medications included in the program:

  • Ampyra
  • Aubagio
  • Avonex
  • Copaxone
  • Enbrel
  • Forteo
  • Gilenya
  • Humira
  • Orencia
  • Otelza
  • Stelara
  • Tecfidera
  • Zytiga

PEHP has revealed that 100 people are currently eligible for its program – four of which are in the process of obtaining passports.