February 20, 2019
September 20, 2018 by Dr. Varner in Prescriptions without Insurance
Each year the average American spends $1,112 on drugs. That’s just on average. If you’re diagnosed with a chronic disease, your monthly bill could come out to more than that.
Prescription drug prices in the US are some of the highest in the world, and the old adage about price meaning quality does not apply here. Thanks to the cartels in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, each year Americans are spending more on their medications, and receiving less for it.
Not only do these cartels help jack up the prices of prescription medications, but they also work to limit your choices.
To give you an example, I recently treated a young man for cellulitis whose case had become so severe that his muscles were multidrug resistant. At that point, it was clear to me that his only option was Linezolid.
But when my patient got to the pharmacy with his prescription he was told that because he was on Medicaid, they couldn’t give him the drug without ‘prior authorization’.
I called the pharmacy on his behalf and asked how much it would be if he paid in cash. $1,500 she told me. For a month’s supply!
My patient was starting to panic, but I told him not to worry. I had a solution.
I knew that Linezolid used to be a very expensive drug, but that since it was opened up to generic competition the price had been driven down significantly. Apparently, that didn’t stop the pharmacy from trying to sell it with a markup.
So I went online to one of my top websites for prescriptions coupons, printed out a coupon for Linezolid for my patient, and he got the course of drugs he needed for just $50 instead of $1,500.
In the end, he didn’t need the government’s ‘prior authorization’, nor did he have to mortgage his home to pay for the bill. Instead, thanks to this one website he got the medication he needed for $50 and his cellulitis was cured.
Think this sounds like a miracle? It’s not. I print coupons like this for my patients every single day, saving them anywhere from $5 to $1,450 on each prescription.
I have two websites that I use for this, and they are my two secret weapons for saving money on prescription drugs. Want to know what they are?
To put it simply, if you are a cash paying patient in the US, every single drug you buy should be purchased with the coupon from GoodRX.com. This is my top site for accessing prescription drug discounts.
You see, the pharmaceutical industry comes with this very weird cartelized system of organizations called pharmacy benefit managers. What most people don’t know is that pharmacies have a two-tiered pricing system. They have one price for cash customers and then they have a separate price for insurance company customers. It’s really screwed up.
GoodRX.com compares prices across participating pharmacies to find you the lowest price, and it will allow you to print a coupon that gets you that discount on that specific prescription drug. This is the very same website that enabled me to save $1,450 for my patient who needed Linezolid.
Below you can see a quick search for Lipitor, one of the most common drugs in the US. As you can see, the average cash price in your local pharmacy can be well over $100.
With this website not only can you save up to 80% on your prescription in your local pharmacy, you can even see where else you can get it more cheaply. That could be online or at the pharmacy across the street. It’s a truly amazing tool, but most Americans don’t even know it exists.
You may want to sign up for one of their prescription discount cards as well for even more savings.
This website works slightly differently, but the result is the same: way cheaper prices for prescription drugs.
Here, rather than getting a list of prices and coupons to choose from, with Blink Health they give you their own discounted price. You pay with your credit card directly on the site, and then show up at one of the pharmacies on their list to pick it up.
As you can see in the case of Lipitor, you can get even deeper cost savings here than on GoodRX.
So every time anyone goes to a pharmacy in the US, I recommend that they check both of these sites to see what kinds of cost savings are possible.
Note, this applies not only to brand name drugs but generics as well. Even a generic drug that goes for $40 from the pharmacy, might be dropped down to $7 using GoodRx.
Even if you can only save a couple of bucks on your prescription, multiply that over a year or more and it really adds up.