HEALTH INSURER PROMOTES PILL SPLITTING TO CUT Rx SPENDING

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One of the nation's largest health insurers is actively urging its members to secure prescriptions for more potent drugs and then practice pill splitting to reduce medication costs.

The new "Half Tablet Program" that United Healthcare is promoting to many of its 25 million members offers participants the opportunity to reduce their monthly drug copays by 50% on 16 selected medicines. Drugs covered by the new program include such widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering treatments as Lipitor and Crestor, as well as popular antidepressants such as Zoloft and Lexapro.

The company, which is providing free pill splitters to members, estimates that the program could reduce monthly copayments for patients enrolled in the program by as much as $25 per prescription.