Showing posts with label Best Ways to Save on Prescription Medication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Ways to Save on Prescription Medication. Show all posts

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why Has My Medication Gotten So Expensive?

Specialty medications aren’t the only ones that you can expect to pay high prices for anymore. Even commonly prescribed drugs, like infection-fighting antibiotics, are seeing hefty price increases. Here’s what’s behind the price hikes, and what you can do about them.

Reasons for the increases

According to Harvard Health Publications, from Harvard Medical School, there are many contributing factors as to why we’re seeing a rise in the price of medications.

Corporate approach

Take the case of a drug called Daraprim, used to treat parasitic infections caused by toxoplasmosis. There’s a small market for the drug, without much competition. The price was stable for years. But when a new drug company acquired the drug, it raised the price 5,000%, from $13.50 to $750/pill. Why? Because it lacks the competition needed to drive the price down.

Supply/demand

A shortage of Doxycycline (an antibiotic) in 2011, due to quality concerns in a plant used in the composition of the drug, resulted in a 6,000% increase in the cost. The price for this somewhat common medication went from six cents to $3.36/pill. As with any consumer item, when there is a shortage in the product, the price increases.

Price spiking

Defined as a sudden increase in a drug’s price for a specific period of time, price spikes are not an uncommon practice. As long as drug companies are not collectively conspiring to raise prices, there is nothing illegal about this.

Unfortunately, generic medications used to be the lower-cost alternative to prescription drugs, but that isn’t always the case any longer. In fact, generic prices have actually increased, too. Recently, almost 400 generic medications have seen price increases of more than 1,000%, according to an AARP report.  

Some experts blame regulatory changes associated with the Affordable Care Act, since drug companies drive up prices when they’re concerned about the effect of regulations.

Even pharmacists are often surprised and taken off-guard by the sudden spikes. In many cases, the cost of prescription drugs has outstripped inflation.

All of these causes together are responsible for the price increases that have a major effect on consumers. Consumers pay for about 18% of prescription drugs out-of-pocket, and when the costs rise, that’s a financial burden and an overall health concern on a national level. In fact, approximately 25% of prescriptions are not even filled due to cost.

Ways to save

So, how can you, the consumer, save money on your prescription drugs? Don’t worry, there are ways!

  • Always ask your physician about the lowest-cost alternative for treatment. Sometimes that’s all it takes!
  • Many people don’t realize that you can (and should) comparison shop for prescriptions based on price. Use the FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool to find the lowest cost drug at a pharmacy near you.
  • Utilize the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card to make sure that you’re getting the lowest price on your prescriptions. It’s free and available to everyone, and you can use it on every medication, every time you visit the pharmacy!
  • Contact your local representative to discuss these issues and let your voice be heard on this matter.

While drug prices might be on the increase, there are steps you can take to manage the costs – stay informed, compare prices, and don’t forget to use your FamilyWize card (or app) to help save on a regular basis.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The 10 Most Important Questions You're Not Asking Your Pharmacist

Your pharmacist is an important part of your healthcare team, able to help you with interpret and evaluate information regarding your medications, but they’re often an overlooked resource. The next time you visit your pharmacy for either prescription or over-the-counter medication, don’t hesitate to speak with your pharmacist if you have any questions. Below are 10 questions to consider asking.


  1. How long do I need to take this medication? In the case of an antibiotic, which is usually prescribed for an infection, you may only take the prescription for 7-10 days. However, for a chronic condition, such as a thyroid disorder, the medication might be something that’s required on an ongoing basis. It’s important to understand what your medication requires – and it’s also important to take the full dosage, even if you start to feel better!
  2. Should I take this medication with food or on an empty stomach? In some instances, taking meds with food might be necessary because taking it on an empty stomach can make you feel sick. In other cases, meds can have an interaction with or be ineffective when taken with certain foods. It’s important to know the proper way to take each medication.
  3. What time of day should I take this medication? All medications are different! Sometimes taking them in the evening is recommended, while others suggest taking them in the morning. Your pharmacist can point out the reason behind taking your medicine when it’s suggested.
  4. What are the possible side effects of this medication? By discussing any possible side effects with your pharmacist, you will be prepared should you experience any unusual sensations while taking your medicine. Sometimes side effects can even be managed by taking into account some of the above (when you eat and when you take your meds).
  5. What if I miss a dose? As your pharmacist will explain, in some cases, you should go ahead and take that missed dose. In other cases, you should wait until it’s time for your next dose. 
  6. Are there any possible interactions? It’s important to share a complete list of all your meds, both prescription and over-the-counter, including supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies, with your pharmacist to help alleviate any interactions. Also, your pharmacist will point out any possible interactions with certain foods, even exposure to sun, that can impact the effectiveness of your medication or your health. 
  7. How should I store this medication? For most medications, a dry, cool temperature is suggested for storage. There are certain medications that require refrigeration, however. Ask! 
  8. How should I dispose of this medication? Medicine take-back programs (www.fda.gov/drugs) are a great option for medication disposal. In some instances, flushing and using the trash are approved, too. Ask your pharmacist for guidelines. 
  9. Is a generic available? Using a generic medication can usually save you money while providing the same benefits as a brand drug. If you’re not receiving the generic, ask for it! 
  10. Am I getting the best price possible? By using your FamilyWize prescription savings card, you can ensure you are receiving the best possible price on your medication. Anyone can request a card by printing one at www.FamilyWize.org/card or by calling 1-800-222-2818.
     
    FamilyWize also has a drug lookup tool. Before leaving your home to pick up your medication, taking a minute to look up the pharmacy with the best price can help you save significantly at the pharmacy. 
     
    Both the savings card and the drug lookup took are available in the free FamilyWize app: Click here to download it to an Apple product or click here to download it for Andriod.
     
    Your doctor may have other money-saving suggestions or tips. 

 
Based on your condition, the prescription your doctor prescribes, and your personal situation, you may have additional questions for your pharmacist. Remember: your pharmacist is happy to help you with any questions or concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Best Ways to Save on Prescription Medication


The rising cost of prescription medications is a huge burden for many Americans. The good news is that there are ways you can take control. Here are some great tips that can help you save money on your prescription medication.

Go Generic

Whenever the option is available, you can save substantially by choosing generic drugs over brand-name. Generic drugs have the same ingredients, dosage, intended use, side effects, and strength as the original drug. The only difference is that it’s usually much cheaper than its brand-name counterparts – in many cases, 30-80% less!

Compare Prices At Your Local Pharmacies


The cost of a drug can vary from one pharmacy to the next, sometimes significantly. When choosing a pharmacy, compare before you commit.

The FamilyWize  Drug Price Lookup Tool is the perfect tool for this. You can use the tool to check and compare prices at different pharmacies. Simply enter your zip code and the name of the drug you’ve been prescribed, and the tool will search your neighborhood, giving you a list of where the drug is available, and at what price.


Use a Prescription Savings Card

Our free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card saved an average of 42% off your retail prescription costs, or $29.14 per prescription, based on our data from 2014. In some cases, the savings with the card go as high as 75%! The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card can oftentimes give you a better deal than your insurance, so whenever you go to the pharmacy, always show your FamilyWize card in addition to your insurance, and ask your pharmacist for the lowest price.

Use Common Savings Strategies

What works for saving money on general consumer purchases may also work with prescription purchases. For example:
  • Check out the pharmacy counters at big-box stores and club stores – they may offer better discounts than you can get through insurance.
  • If it’s a drug that you need long-term and that doesn’t expire too quickly, look for seasonal discounts or sales and stock up.
  • Look for offers and special deals from your local pharmacies.
  • If your insurance company doesn’t cover your medicine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about alternatives that may be just as effective but cost less money.
  • See if your insurer has a preferred pharmacy or mail order service to help you get the best prices.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if you can eliminate any of them safely.
Remember, no matter which strategy you use to save, taking your medication is crucial to staying healthy. A 2013 Consumer Reports poll revealed that more than 50 percent of us are taking potentially dangerous risks to reduce costs associated with our prescriptions, such as skipping doses, taking expired drugs, or not filling our prescriptions at all.

For more common sense tips on prescription drug safety and cost savings strategies, check out our free Live Healthy, Live Smart® eBook. We’re offering you this free booklet of tips to celebrate our 10th anniversary of helping individuals, families, and communities save money on their medication.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer