An Easy Way to Utilize the Knowledge of Your Pharmacist to Cut Prescription Costs

Tuesday, May 1 2012 3:22 PM - by Brett Kappelmann

What if I told you that I could save you over six hundred dollars a year by changing just one of your medications to a less expensive therapeutically equivalent medication, without sacrificing any health benefit you receive from the medication therapy?  What if I told you that we as your pharmacy would do all of the leg work to make this change?  All you have to do is ask.  We would call your doctor.  We would ask him or her to consider changing to a more affordable option to benefit your pocketbook without sacrificing your health.  Does that perk up your attention at all?

Let me show you a very realistic situation of how we could save you 840 dollars a year on just one change.  Copays on branded medications are at an all-time high.  I regularly see copays at 50 to 75 to even 100 dollars for a one month supply of a brand name medication.  Generic copays often range in the zero to ten dollar range for a one month supply.  Suppose you have been paying a 75 dollar copay for your brand name blood pressure medication for the last year.  This is where it gets fun.

Brand name medications are becoming available in generic form at an all-time high.  Even if your prescription is not available in generic form yet, your pharmacist will know if a “therapeutically equivalent” medication is available in generic form.  When I say two drugs are therapeutically equivalent, it basically means that they work the same way and produce the same desired effect, but the pharmacy cannot substitute without the prescriber’s authorization because it is not the exact same medication, just an equivalent one.

So back to my example.  With the ever increasing rates of brands moving to generic, suppose you ask your pharmacist  if there is a more affordable alternative to the 75 dollar brand name blood pressure medication.  Your pharmacist just so happens to know that a therapeutically equivalent medication just went generic last month.  Your pharmacist calls your doctor, your doctor ok’s the change, and now the new medication is billed to your insurance and comes back at a 5 dollar copay.  75-5=70.  Thus you will save 70 dollars per month.  70 dollars x 12 months = 840 dollars per year! 

I don’t know about you but I can think of so many good things you could do with 840 extra dollars in your pocket at the end of the year.  Disclaimer:  sometimes your doctor has very good reason to have you on the exact medication that you are on and will be reluctant to change.  That’s ok.  At least we tried.  In that case ask your doctor if the manufacturer has given him or her any copay assistance coupons to help bring your copay down.

So utilize the free wealth of knowledge of your pharmacist to save you money!  As a pharmacist and local independent pharmacy owner, I am passionate about finding solutions for our customers to make their lives better.  It may be a health solution, a convenience solution, or in this case a financial solution.  My phone line is always open if you have any questions regarding your particular situation (775-2289).  It’s just another way to let you know that we care.