Hospitals Looking for Ways You Can Save on Prescriptions
Due to increasing costs and the shortage of supply for generic drugs, groups presenting over 450 hospitals are planning to form their own drug company. According to a recent article posted, there are four large groups of hospitals looking for a solution and hope to create a generic version of about 20 different medications. Those groups include Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health. The Veterans of Health Administration is also considering getting involved in the effort.
In 2015, a massive spike in the cost of drugs occurred due to companies buying older, off-patent medicines and raising the prices. That same year, the cost of Nitropress, an emergency blood pressure medication, went from $215.00 to $881.00 a vial, an increase of over 300%. Isuprel, which helps treat abnormal heart rhythms, raised over 718% (from $180 to $1,472.00 per vial) and let’s not forget Martin Shkreli’s raise of the price of Daraprim. Daraprim is an antiparasitic medication used to prevent pneumonia in AIDS/HIV patients. These types of hikes in medication cost hospitals millions of dollars and inevitably trickle down to patients.
The companies are being tight-lipped about most of the details for fear of the pharmaceutical companies attempt to shut them out of the market by lowering the drug prices, then raising them afterward. However, they did advise they will start with the drug prices that had an extreme increase in cost over the past few years. There is no decision on if they will produce the drugs themselves or rely on a third-party manufacturer. However, they will start with selling the medications to hospitals and broaden product availability at a later date. These prescriptions are expected to be available in 2019.
As for now, we have put together a few tips to help you save money on your prescription drug costs:
- Generics: It’s important to see if there is a generic version of what you have been prescribed. These drugs have the same ingredients as brand-name medications but cost a bit less. Some name brand drugs can cost $390 for a 30-day supply, whereas a generic version could cost only $10 for a 30-day supply. Talk to your pharmacist and ask if there is a generic version of the drug. You’ll be surprised at what your pharmacist can help you with when you ask the right questions.
- Samples: If your doctor prescribes a new medication, and there is not a generic version available, ask for samples. Drug reps from pharmaceutical companies generally provide doctors with samples of the medication. This is a good practice if the medication has been newly prescribed and it helps save on out-of-pocket expenses.
- Larger Supply: Instead of using a 30-day supply, ask your doctor if you can get a 90-day supply. By getting a prescription for a larger supply, you will only have a copay on your prescription medications every three months.
- Copay Cards: Many pharmaceutical companies offer assistance with prescription drugs. Remember to ask your doctor about any assistance from the manufacturer!
- Shop Around: If you were buying a new appliance for your kitchen, you wouldn’t just buy the first one you see. You would shop around for a different price. The same can be done with your prescription drugs. Some pharmacies order directly from the drug company, while others use a third-party vendor which can drive up the costs. Call around to pharmacies in your network, and in your area and check the prices of the medications.
- Consider Updating Your Plan: If you are on Original Medicare, you can switch your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. This period is from October 15th – December 7th of every year. Because Medicare plans change yearly; it’s important to compare plans and coverage options. This includes the cost of prescription medications.
If you have any other questions regarding your prescriptions or Medicare coverage, please contact one of our licensed sales agents at Medicare Pathways. You can reach us at 866-466-9118 now!