Always ask the cash price - you could save on your prescriptions

The “he said/she said” of Rx pricing tools

If you’ve ever used a prescription price-check tool for an Rx savings program (like ScriptSave WellRx), only to have been told a different price when the time came to collect & pay for the prescription at the pharmacy, then the next few paragraphs are for you.

Regardless of the product or service, it’s an infuriating thing to be quoted one price online, but to then be confronted with a different reality at the store (unless, of course, the price comes down – then we love it).

What can be done to avoid bad price-quotes?

For patients using prescription savings programs, there are a few steps that can be taken to help reduce the potential for errors with an Rx price-check tool.

In short, there are some very important things to keep in mind when doing a price look-up with a prescription discount card and overlooking any single one of them has the potential to make a mess of things.

In no particular order, at ScriptSave WellRx we always recommend that our members keep the following pointers in mind:

    • Potential Problem #1
      Prescription prices can be volatile and it’s not uncommon to find regular (even daily) price changes across pharmacies in any given zip code.
    • Recommendation
      When using a price-check tool or mobile app to review the lowest prescription prices in your zip code, be sure to perform one final look-up on the same day that you end up collecting & paying for your script. As frustrating as it might be to discover that prices changed for your medication overnight, it’s far less frustrating to realize this before you leave home. Especially if you also discover that the same medication actually came down in price at a different pharmacy nearby (perhaps even giving you the opportunity to make arrangements to transfer the prescription).

     

    • Potential Problem #2
      Prescription medications come in many different strengths, forms, quantities, etc. There’s also the matter of brands & generics. However, a price-check tool for a prescriptions savings card like ScriptSave WellRx has to start somewhere – and the default settings on the website will generally only return pricing results for one very specific version of each medication. For example, perhaps the price-check tool will show results for the most commonly filled strength, quantity, form and manufacturer of the medication that you’re searching for.
    • Recommendation
      When the results of your price-check are returned by the website or mobile app, ALWAYS take a few minutes to review the details against the details on your prescription … and make the necessary manual changes (if any are needed) using the drop-down menus that determine the drug’s Strength, Quantity, Form, Brand/Generic, etc. (see Fig.1)

     

    FIGURE 1
    ask cash price filter - results image

    • Potential Problem #3
      Your pharmacist does not recognize or is not familiar with your prescription savings card.
    • Recommendation
      If you’re using the ScriptSave WellRx card or mobile app, you can be confident that if your pharmacy showed up in our price-check tool, it’s more than likely that we have a contract with them to accept your savings card. We do our best to keep our database up-to-date so as not to send members on a wild goose chase. Perhaps the best way to approach using a ScriptSave WellRx card is to do so with confidence. Although this program is NOT insurance, an Rx savings card includes the same pharmacy processing information that pharmacists see & use every day on all the different insurance cards they deal with. That being case, simply hand your ScriptSave WellRx card to the pharmacist, point to where the card shows the Rx BIN, Rx PCN, etc. and ask,

    “Would you please process my prescription using these details and let me know what my out-of-pocket cost will be?”

    U.S. Based Call Center Support

    Another useful hint to keep in mind is that all ScriptSave WellRx members are serviced by a toll-free customer support number (staffed by real people right here in the U.S.). If you ever have a problem, you can call the support line toll-free at 1-800-407-8156, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 8pm EST, and our friendly staff will be glad to help get to the bottom of any issues. Given the real-time need that many patients face with filling their prescriptions, if you’ve had issues at a particular pharmacy in the past, it might be helpful to call our support staff ahead of your next visit to fill your prescription. If necessary, our staff may be able to call your pharmacy on your behalf – ahead of your visit – so that everything is smoothed out before you arrive to pick-up and pay.

    Final Thought – Love your Pharmacist (and Always Ask the Cash Price)

    Please always keep in mind that pharmacists have a LOT going on and they can be incredibly busy. Although they can make it look simple at times, that’s generally a reflection of their professionalism & experience, and their role in a patient’s healthcare is not to be underestimated. Pharmacists are a truly valuable resource and they juggle a lot of different tasks. If you meet a pharmacist who looks at your prescription savings card and doesn’t immediately recognize it, don’t be surprised. We can’t expect every pharmacist, at every pharmacy, to recognize and remember every single savings card and insurance program that they have a contract with. More often than not, if you ask your pharmacist (politely) to try processing your prescription using the details on the card, they will be happy to give it a try. If that doesn’t work, and if you’re using a card from ScriptSave, you have a tollfree support number to call for assistance.

    As for “Always Ask the Cash Price” … that’s a must-do for patients who don’t want to over-pay (especially for those WITH prescription insurance). For more insights on this, read our blog post on why you should Always Ask the Cash Price.


    Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
    and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.

    If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
    visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
    You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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WNCT9 prescription savings story

GREENVILLE N.C. (WNCT) – Pharmacy prices can differ from store to store and should be treated like buying a car.

Most people think of just going to the pharmacy closest to them instead of looking around for their medication.

When in reality, it can differ by sometimes a significant amount.

There are different ways that you can go about finding these prices.

Certain apps will bring up every pharmacy within a number of miles of your current location.

From there, you type in the medication that you’re looking for and all of the prices will come up right in front of you.

A creator of one of those apps says he looks for the cheapest prices for everything else – so why not do it for our medication.

“Any pharmacies have an in store savings program for low cost drugs,” said Shawn Ohri, creator of ScriptSave WellRx. “But it doesn’t mean all drugs are low cost at that pharmacy, they’re bringing in a good number of prescriptions at a low cost but there may be others that don’t have a low cost.”

You can find apps like this in the Apple Store or the Google Play Store.

Some are free and others require a subscription.

9 On Your Side looked up some of the top medications used in Greenville and found a difference of almost $30 in some of the different locations, showing it really does work to look before you shop.

Top 10 Drugs (non-controls)  Greenville, NC
Reporting Period: Jan 2017 – June 2017
Date Prepared: 07/27/2017
Rank Drug     Lowest Pharmacy
1 AMLODIPINE BESYLATE     Harris Teeter Pharmacy
2 Generic form of Norvasc (High blood pressure, chest pain)

ATORVASTATIN CALCIUM

    Hometown Discount Pharmacy of Greenville
3 Generic form of Lipitor (High Cholesterol)

HYDROCHLOROTHIAZIDE

    Harris Teeter Pharmacy
4 Waterpill/Diuretic (High blood pressure and fluid retention)

METOPROLOL SUCCINATE

    Rite Aid Pharmacy
5 Generic form of Toprol (High blood pressure, chest pain, and heart failure)

GABAPENTIN

    Rite Aid Pharmacy
6 Generic form of Neurontin (Nerve pain medication – very common)

METOPROLOL TARTRATE

    Walmart Pharmacy
7 Generic form of Lopressor (High blood pressure, chest pain, and heart failure)

LEVOTHYROXINE SODIUM

    Walmart Pharmacy
8 Generic form of Synthroid (Thyroid hormone)

SERTRALINE HCL

    Harris Teeter Pharmacy
9 Generic form of Zoloft (Anxiety/Deperession)

LISINOPRIL

    Harris Teeter Pharmacy
10 Very common heart failure / high blood pressure medication.

PREDNISONE  Steroid used for inflammation.

    Walmart Pharmacy
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Savings card vs. savings coupon image scriptsave wellrx

What’s in a name and why does it matter?

Although many patients tend to think of the ScriptSave WellRx program as a coupon for their meds, your free prescription savings card is actually a lot more powerful.

In addition to the obvious differences, like the fact that you would normally only get to use a regular coupon for one transaction (related to just one very specific product, as stated on the face of the coupon), there are some additional and very important features that make for big differences between an Rx discount card (like ScriptSave WellRx) and a coupon.

Here are a couple of important things to keep in mind. Understanding these differences will also help to explain why an insurance provider can’t allow you use the ScriptSave discount in addition to their own reduced rates, or why a pharmaceutical manufacturer won’t allow you to apply their copay savings program together with our low prices.

  • A regular coupon works by lowering the end-price of a product, cutting it by the exact amount shown on the coupon. The coupon has a fixed value, and the retailer will subtract that fixed value from the current sales price. For example, the regular coupon might say, “Take $5 off the price of XYZ.” When this happens, the savvy consumer might decide to shop around in order to find the store that sells this product for the very lowest price…THEN s/he will receive an additional $5 off that lowest price upon surrendering the coupon.
  • In contrast, what we do with the ScriptSave WellRx program is to negotiate lower final costs for each specific medication. We don’t negotiate a fixed coupon value. Instead, we negotiate a final discounted price. This is a subtle but important difference. With our program we’re saying, “We can get you a specific medication for a negotiated final price of $X.” This being the case, if the patient can find a pharmacy that will fill their prescription for a final out-of-pocket cost that’s lower than our negotiated price (perhaps as a result of the drug being on a low copay list with their insurer), they may not want to use their Rx discount card for that particular medication. Meanwhile, the same patient may have a second prescription that’s not covered by insurance and where the ScriptSave out-of-pocket cost is the lowest discounted price available…in which case one script gets filled with ScriptSave and the other does not.

Can it be used with insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.?

Here’s another example to help illustrate. We’ll start by laying out three basic pricing options for filling a prescription at a given pharmacy…

  1. An insurance policy (including Medicare and Medicaid) includes a list of drugs (known as the Formulary) for which covered patients will pay a predetermined negotiated rate.
  2. Similar to the prescription drug formulary at an insurance company, the contracts that ScriptSave has negotiated with its pharmacy partners also result in pre-determined out-of-pocket costs. These rates are available to ANY patient who chooses to pay cash.
  3. At the same time, a generic drug list at a retail pharmacy shows the final prices for certain drugs at that pharmacy.

Of the three pricing options listed above, a patient is free to choose the price that makes the most sense for each of the prescriptions they are filling. However, this is a one-or-other choice. There’s simply no way to “stack/combine” the savings from an insurance payer together with the savings from a cash discount card, because the prices being offered under each option are contractually agreed and final.

Another way to put this is to say that, in the world of a regular coupon, the value of the coupon is always the same no matter which store it gets redeemed it at. Therefore, the final out-of-pocket cost for any product that has a coupon will vary based on how much the store is selling the product for in the first place. Meanwhile, an Rx savings card like the ScriptSave WellRx card will deliver a fixed final out-of-pocket cost (and so it’s the value of the discount that changes with every prescription being filled, relative to the original cash price for the drug in question).

In short, prescription savings programs are NOT coupons. While it might be easy to think of them in this way (and you may even hear us refer to them as such), it’s important to keep the differences in mind. Furthermore, you’ll want to choose your savings program based on its reputation and relationship with pharmacies … because it’s these relationships that matter when it comes time for the pharmacist to honor the savings card or mobile app.

As part of the Medical Security Card Company and ScriptSave suite of pharmacy programs, the ScriptSave WellRx program boasts well over 20 years (founded in 1994) of history and relationships with our pharmacy partners. We believe this helps make ScriptSave WellRx second-to-none.


Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.
If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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high medication prices image

by Leah Samera
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy
PharmD Candidate, Class of 2018

It’s one of the most common questions we hear at ScriptSave: “Why are prescription medications so expensive?” With insurance deductibles going up and insurance companies providing less reimbursement, drug prices are outpacing the inflation rate. So why do drug companies continue to charge exorbitant prices for medications? The simple answer is, because they can.

There are a number of factors that affect the cost of medications. In the United States, drug costs are vastly higher relative to other countries. What sets the U.S. apart is that drug manufacturing companies are permitted to set their own price for a given prescription drug. Conversely, in countries with national health insurance systems, a separate organization negotiates drug prices or rejects coverage if the manufacturer proposes what is felt to be an excessive cost.

Market Exclusivity

The reason why brand name drug manufacturers are able to set such high prices in the United States is because they are “protected” from competition, and they have a lot of negotiating power; this leads to those manufacturers having market exclusivity. Market exclusivity is when the FDA allows a manufacturer to market their drug without generic competition. According to Kesselheim, et al. the median length of post-approval market exclusivity is 12.5 years for widely used drugs and 14.5 years for highly innovative, first-in-class drugs.

New medications are automatically protected from generic competition for anywhere between 5 and 12 years. On top of that, manufacturers may also receive patents that can last 20+ years. These companies can even extend their patent period by testing in children through the pediatric exclusivity program. They can also apply for additional patents on nontherapeutic aspects of a drug, such as the method of administration, coating, and formulation. Manufacturers can thus periodically implement and patent small changes to a drug, thus prolonging their market exclusivity.

Pay for Delay

Aside from legal protection, some brand-name manufacturers have historically negotiated with and offered financial incentives to generic manufacturers to defer introduction of a generic product until a later time; this is referred to as pay for delay. Some brand-name manufacturers have even paid generic manufacturers to cancel introduction of their generic product altogether. Brand-name manufacturers have also offered rebates to third party administrators of prescription drug plans to promote their product versus others in its class.

What About Generic Drugs?

Generic products can become expensive as well because, for some drugs, there is lack of motivation to create additional generic competitors. The number of generic manufacturers for a given drug depends on factors such as the size of the target population for the drug, availability of ingredients, and mergers in the industry. Those generic manufacturers with little competition may then raise prices.

Dispense As Written

It is also important to note that there are several laws and people involved in the process of writing and distributing a prescription medication. Physicians write prescriptions, pharmacists fill and sell prescription medications, and patients and/or insurers pay for said medications. The separation in these roles can often lead to physicians being unaware of drug prices and therefore not taking this consideration into account in clinical decision making. Several states also may not require pharmacists to conduct generic substitution, and all states allow physicians to write dispense as written prescriptions that pharmacists cannot substitute with a generic product.

How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

Fortunately, the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings program offers instant prescription discounts at the register on both brand name and generic prescription medications. Over 62,000 pharmacies across the U.S. participate, and there’s no enrollment fee or usage limits. Although there are many forces in the market that increase drug costs, ScriptSave WellRx delivers prescription savings solutions that can help you and everyone in your household save money on medications — even pets!

Registered members have access to a free suite of personal wellness tools in the Medicine Chest, including:

  • Ask a Pharmacist
  • Pill Reminders
  • Refill Reminders
  • Medication Information (in both English and Spanish)
  • Medication Videos
  • Mood-tracking (to review side effects, etc.)
  • Price-check and Pharmacy Locator

Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store, and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools. If you’re struggling to afford your medications, visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you. You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

References:

  • Kesselheim AS, Avorn J, Sarpatwari A. The high cost of prescription drugs in the United States: origins and prospects for reform. JAMA 2016; 316:858–871. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27552619
  • https://www.wellrx.com/faq

For the best Rx price on
prescription medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.
Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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save money on prescriptions

wabc prescription savings storyby Nina Peneda

We price compare for everything from shoes to SUV’s. So why not for medicine? Especially for those uninsured, there are way to save thousands a year. Shrinking your pill bill may start with a few clicks. ScriptSave WellRx compared the generic form of the cholesterol drug, Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium), across the tri-state area.

It could cost you as much as $105.77 for a 10mg month’s supply but according to SciptSave WellRx, using it’s service and savings card, you could price shop that cash, no insurance price down to $16.70. A savings of $89.07.

Be a Smart Healthcare Consumer

“It just pays to be a smart consumer, even in healthcare, you need to be a healthcare consumer, instead of a healthcare patient,” said Shawn Ohri, of ScriptSave WellRx.

Big box stores, groceries and drug stores all offer membership clubs and discount cards to save on the sky-rocketing cost of medicine.

Free memberships in online services like ScriptSave WellRx, websites that provide coupons and negotiate discounts with pharmacies, allow your fingers to do the walking before you do the running around.

“There are many cases where we can actually beat your insurance co-pay, or if you’re in a high deductible health plan there are many cases where our price may be lower,” Ohri said.

For example, according to ScriptSave WellRx, in the low-income areas of the Bronx, the generic version of the popular sleep aid, Lunesta, for someone with no insurance can cost six times more at one store than at a pharmacy less than a mile away.

At Us Pharmacy lab in Northvale, New Jersey, Pharmacist David Yoon feels the comparison services are a good starting point for consumers looking to save.

“It’s not 100-percent accurate, but it gives you a ball park figure who’s cheapest in your neighborhood,” Yoon said.

Ohri suggests always calling the pharmacy to get an updated actual price. And, most importantly, steer clear of expensive name brand medication if it’s okay with your doctor to use the generic form.

“The price difference is astronomical. Sometimes the brand names can cost 50 to 100 times more, especially in the cases where you don’t have insurance,” Yoon said.

Pharmacists also recommend no matter where you are filling your scripts, consider the relationship with the provider and the safety which comes with having all your records on file.

The big takeaway: There are other ways to save. Ask your pharmacy what the cash or retail price of your prescription is it just might beat your insurance price. Price match. If you see a lower price somewhere else, ask your pharmacy to match or beat it. If they want to keep your business they will. And ask your doctor about an assistance program. If you qualify, you could get the prescription for free.

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PIX 11 News - Prescription Savings image

by Kirstin Cole, PIX 11 News, New York

Unlock secret savings on prescriptionsIt’s a growing strain on our bottom line:  more Americans taking ever more prescribed medications and spending more of their income to do it.

The toll is evident, as one in 10 of us can’t afford our medications and are simply going without.  It’s what’s inspired one group to use the insider info they gained working in the pharmaceutical business to beat the drug sellers at their own game.

Here’s how to unlock your own secret savings, necessary since prescription pills are a daily way of life for nearly 60 percent of Americans, and it’s pricey.

Natalie Stelzer of Brooklyn Heights was blunt: “They are off the charts.  So expensive. Co-pays are dismal.”

Even as politicians in Washington duke it out over health care reform, Americans continue to spend more on medications — up to a  projected $457 billion in 2015, and rising.

Robert Gibbons of Brooklyn Heights worries as he sees what his mother faces when it comes to her prescription dugs.  He sums it up as  “backward and profiteering.”

That’s where  ScriptSave WellRx comes in.

Shawn Ohri and his team decided to tackle it.  They’re insiders who’ve worked with pharmacies and drug makers for decades, and they’re committed to bringing savings to consumers.

“Customers can save up 80 percent off retail cost of prescriptions.  In 2016  we saved 1.3 billion dollars on their prescription costs.”

The comparison shopping all happens on their app and website, ScriptSave WellRx, and the savings can be stunning.

We comparison shopped for Crestor, the cholesterol drug, using the area around PIX11 in midtown.  Within a few blocks we found it for as little as $18, and all the way up to $239.

Whether with insurance, or without, Ohri’s company uses bulk buying of medicines to negotiate cheaper prices on drugs, often beating your insurance company’s pricing.

Other secret ways to save? Picking up one prescription where you grocery shop, another might be cheaper at the drug store, and yet another at a big box chain. The app does the leg work for you, wherever you live, work or shop.

Ohri explained that, “On top of that you are going to get our discount because of our group volume.  We’ve done all the negotiating with pharmacies.”

And with these negotiations, we all come out healthier winners.

See the entire story on Pix11.com.

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Best U.S. Prescription Savings image

A ScriptSave WellRx Pharmacy Price Comparison Across the US

Jul 26, 2017 – (Newswire) The prescription discount program, ScriptSave WellRx, has just completed a national price analysis of the biggest pharmacies, grocers, and retail chains, trying to uncover who has the lowest prices when it comes to prescription drugs.

Their data analysts looked at every national retail chain pharmacy in the country. Large discount retailers, like Walmart and Costco; grocery stores, like Albertson’s and Safeway; drug stores like Walgreen’s/Duane Reade and CVS were all included in this computer-based analysis.

ScriptSave WellRx discovered prices for some prescription drugs varied by more than 300 percent in the same neighborhood. For more expensive prescriptions, that’s a price fluctuation of more than $300.

Which pharmacies have the best prescription medication prices?

ScriptSave WellRx negotiates medication prices in bulk with pharmacies, so they have an insider view of how prescription drugs are priced.

In 2017, researchers with ScriptSave WellRx compared prices for some of the most popular prescription drugs sold in the U.S.

This analysis found the price for the cholesterol drug, rosuvastatin (generic version of Crestor), varied from $16 to $106, depending on the pharmacy being used.

Celecoxib (generic Celebrex), an anti-inflammatory drug, ranged from $22 to $96, and the sleep medication, Lunesta, was $24 to $137 at different pharmacy locations.

The allergy drug, Flonase, was $14 to $21. Other popular drugs showed similar price disparities.

Why do prices for prescription drugs vary so much?

The Vice President of Product for ScriptSave WellRx, Shawn Ohri, says there are multiple factors that determine how pharmacies price the same prescription drug. Ohri compares it to the neighborhood gas station. Prices for the same product can vary immensely even on the same corner.

“The prescription drug industry is a complicated business with many factors that influence how a prescription drug is priced,” Ohri said. “Grocery stores, drug stores and big box retailers all have different overhead and pricing strategies that determine how corporate prices their prescriptions. It really does pay to shop around. We’ve created WellRx as a tool to allow customers to do that.”

Free Mobile App Reveals Prices at Local Pharmacy

In the past, consumers had no way of comparing prices for their prescription other than calling around and asking for a quote. Now, consumers can find the lowest price for their prescription by downloading the free mobile app, ScriptSave WellRx.

The company, based in Tucson, Arizona, has compiled a proprietary pricing database and it is now sharing that information with the public via their website and their free mobile app.

ScriptSave WellRx is consumer friendly. Users type in their zip code and the name of their prescription drug. The mobile app then reveals the prices for that drug at every nearby pharmacy. Consumers need to show their ScriptSave WellRx mobile app or discount card to get the lowest price at the pharmacy.

“Last year, ScriptSave helped customers save more than $1.3 billion through our innovative pharmacy savings programs,” said Ohri. “As healthcare costs continue to rise and consumers become responsible for more out-of-pocket costs for their healthcare, it will become more important to shop around for the best price. Our goal is to keep customers healthy, while also bringing more pricing transparency to this industry.”

Ohri says on average consumers can expect to save 45 percent and in some cases more than 80 percent on their prescription costs with the ScriptSave WellRx app.

Consumers can download the free ScriptSave WellRx’s free mobile app (for iPhone and Android) and visit their website for more information.

WellRx is also offered to groups, including employers, health plans, insurers, and other affinity organizations.

 

 

Press Contact:

Mark Macias
​Email: mmm@maciaspr.com or 646-770-0541

 

You can find the original ScriptSave WellRx press release here.


For the best Rx price on
prescription medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.
Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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prescription savings pill-splitting - wellrx

by Hayde Blanco, PharmD Candidate
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

Pill splitting refers to breaking a pill down to obtain a smaller amount of the whole pill. Your doctor can write a prescription that is usually double the dosage of what you should take in one day. You can then cut the pill in half, making the smaller dose that should actually be taken. For instance, a medication might be prescribed for 40 mg, but then the pill is split so you actually end up taking 20 mg.

Why Split Pills?

Pill splitting can be a huge help in cost savings if the same amount of the larger and smaller doses are sold at a similar price. Some of the most common reasons for pill splitting are:

  • Reduce the costs associated with a medication
  • Take a dosage of a drug that is not already available.

These methods can be useful to help some people save on their prescription medications, but are not suitable for everyone or for every type of pill. There are some risk factors that should be taken into consideration before splitting any pills.

Pill Splitting Concerns

When a pill is split, there may be different amounts in each half of the pill. Since the active ingredient in each pill is not usually evenly distributed throughout the pill, this may lead to one half containing more of the active ingredient than the other, giving it more potency. Some pills may be hard to split due to having an unusual shape, being too hard, or crumbling easily. There are also some medications that should never be split.

Pharmaceutical companies create some pills that are scored, meaning that they have a line down the middle to make it easier to split.

pill splitting sertaline
This pill is generic sertraline 100mg (an antidepressant) with a line down the middle. Generic pricing for 30 tablets of 100mg averages about $11.50. Generic pricing for 30 tablets of 50mg averages about $10.00. By cutting the 100mg dose in half, you would save close to half of the cost.

Some of the risk of pill splitting is related to the individual, instead of being related to the pill. A common issue is forgetting to split a pill, which could lead to taking double the amount of the prescribed dose. The directions might also be unclear if the bottle says to take one daily, but your doctor says to take one-half daily. You should always verify with your doctor if you are not sure about the prescription dosage you should be taking.

​Although there are risks involved with pill spitting, it can be an appropriate cost saving technique for some people. If pills are being split, there are some recommendations that should be followed to reduce the risks.

What are the Risks?

Some of the risk can be related to the individual instead of being related to the pill. A common issue is forgetting to split a pill, which could lead to taking twice or more of the needed dose. The directions might also be unclear if the bottle says to take one daily, but your doctor says to take one-half daily. Always verify with your doctor if you are not sure how much you should be taking.

​Although there are risks involved with pill spitting it can be an appropriate cost saving technique for some people. If pills are being split, there are some recommendations that should be followed to reduce the risks.

Splitting Pills Safely

  1. Always discuss your choices with a pharmacist or doctor before deciding to split a pill.
  2. Have a general understanding of which pills are appropriate to split and which are not.
  3. Use an appropriate pill cutter. Using a pill cutter instead of a knife or other object cuts the pill more evenly and leads to better distribution of the active ingredient.
  4. Cut the pills right before taking them instead of cutting them all at the same time. Since the distribution of the active ingredient is often not the same on both sides, taking both halves on consecutive days allows for a more even intake of the active ingredient. Additionally, a medication might not be as effective at treating your symptoms when it is broken down and exposed to air and moisture over time.
  5. Make sure you are can put this into practice safely or have someone help you if you can’t. If you have any problems with memory, trouble using your hands, or do not think you would be able to split the pills on an ongoing basis this will not be an appropriate technique to use.

These medications are usually appropriate to split, but always check with your pharmacist or doctor if it is okay to split your medication:

  • High blood pressure medications
  • High cholesterol medications (statins, like Lipitor, Crestor, or Zocor)
  • Depression medications.

These pills should not be split:

  • Capsules
  • Enteric-coated medications
  • Extended release or long acting medications
  • Combination pills containing more than one drug
  • Prepackaged pills, like birth control
  • Certain classes of medications, such as chemotherapy drugs
  • Pills with a small therapeutic index (these pills need to be taken at a very precise dose because they can lead to side effects more easily if more than the prescribed dose is taken or they might not be as effective if too little is taken).

Always remember to talk to your healthcare provider to be sure it’s appropriate for you to split a certain pill before using this cost saving technique. When done correctly, pill splitting can be a safe and effective method to reduce prescription medication costs.

 

References:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tablet-splitting-risky-practice-stuart-silverman

http://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/is-it-safe-to-split-pills-in-half/

http://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/get-the-right-pill-splitter-and-save-money-on-your-medication/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2827917/


For the best Rx price on statins and other medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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ScriptSave WellRx - Ask the Cash Price image

Always ask, “What’s the Ca$h Price?”
Always show your ScriptSave WellRx card

The ScriptSave® WellRx Facebook page sees a lot of interaction…and we love getting questions. By far the most common questions and comments we get from the public are those related to insurance.

  • “Can I use ScriptSave WellRx with my insurance?”
  • “How does it work if it’s not insurance?”
  • “I have insurance, so your card isn’t for me.”

For the record, not only is that last one a misconception among consumers, it’s also a fast-track to over-paying for your meds (and it’s the starting point for this blog post).

Here’s our “Honesty 1.01” post, on what to expect from ScriptSave WellRx and how to stretch your family’s prescription dollars.

  • Not Insurance
    ScriptSave WellRx is NOT INSURANCE. The discounts we’ve negotiated are off the cash prices for your medications. The prices you see in our free online prescription price look-up tool reflect the savings relative to what you would pay if you walk into the pharmacy as a patient with no insurance or other assistance.

So why is it so important to know the cash price? Furthermore, why is it ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT for those with insurance? The answer lies in an article everyone should read, published by Bloomberg News on Feb 24, 2017[1], and titled, “You’re Overpaying for Drugs and Your Pharmacist Can’t Tell You.”

The Bloomberg article highlights how, “Gag clauses stop pharmacists from pointing out a cheaper way” (and, yes, ScriptSave WellRx is one of those CHEAPER WAYS).

“[because of contractual constraints] Eric Pusey has to bite his tongue when customers at his pharmacy cough up co-payments far higher than the cost of their low-cost generic drugs, thinking their insurance is getting them a good deal,” states the article’s author.

Copays that look more like ‘You-Pays’

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and insurance companies use so-called “clawbacks” to generate additional revenue. “Clawbacks” are when PBMs tell local pharmacies to still enforce & collect the patient’s stipulated copay even when it is more than the cost of the actual medication being dispensed. To be clear, when this happens, the additional revenues that are created are not kept by the pharmacy – they are “clawed back” by the PBM

Clawbacks work like this, for example: the cost of a drug is $3.15, plus the pharmacist’s fee (his profit) of $5.83. This brings the total cash price to $8.98. However, owing to the contractual constraints placed on the pharmacy as a condition for being included in the insurer’s network of pharmacies, the pharmacist has to charge whatever copay is stated in the patient’s insurance policy; let’s say it’s a $20 copay for all covered Tier 1 drugs. So, what happens to the remaining $11.02 (the difference between what the pharmacist earns in profit and what the patient pays in copay)? Well, it is taken by the insurance company’s pharmacy benefit manager. In other words, regardless of whether the patient pays the lower cash price or the higher copay, the pharmacy still only makes the same $5.83 in fees. In theory, the pharmacist is no better or worse off regardless of whether the patient pays $8.98 or $20…but he is contractually prohibited from alerting the patient to the concept of paying cash, because he is obligated to always charge the stated copay.

These so-called copays might be better renamed, “You-Pays.” There is no shared (or co-) payment at all. In fact, the insurer picks up zero-percent of the tab on this transaction. Instead, the patient not only pays 100% of the medication cost ($3.15) and 100% of the pharmacist’s fee ($5.83), but the patient also pays an additional “You-Pay” fee of $11.02 to the insurer’s pharmacy benefit manager.

This is why knowing the prescription Cash Price is vital! ScriptSave WellRx - How Clawbacks Work image

The moral of the story is to always ask, “WHAT IS THE CASH PRICE?” and always SHOW YOUR SCRIPTSAVE WELLRX CARD. And, if you are fortunate enough to have insurance, be sure to only pay the copays, not the You-Pays!

Not only is the ScriptSave WellRx program free to all members, there’s also no cost to the patient if she or he asks for a quick price-comparison. However, you have to know how and what to ask. Our closing points, below, will wrap up our Honesty 1.01. Once you understand these points, you’ll be armed against spending unnecessary extra money at the pharmacy counter. Become a member today to get the best deals on your prescription medications..

  • Combining Discounts
    • Patients can’t combine discounts. Although that might be disappointing, it does keep things simple. Find out what your final out-of-pocket cost is with any other assistance/insurance program you have…then compare that to the ScriptSave WellRx price. Select the option that makes most sense to you & your family. HINT: our online pricing tool will help you determine the out-of-pocket cost under our program (but you can also ask the pharmacist).
  • What to Ask For
    • When you greet the pharmacist, hand over your ScriptSave WellRx card and ask, “Could you please price my prescription using the processing details on this discount card? …and, if you have insurance, also add, “…and please compare that to my insurance copay.”
  • Pharmacy Resistance
    • The pharmacies that are featured in our online pricing tool have contracted with us to accept the ScriptSave WellRx card. There are over 62,000 of them, and they process a LOT of scripts every day. They see a lot of different assistance programs and not all of these programs are created equal. Many are not at all “pharmacy friendly” or easy to work with. That being the case, there will be times when a pharmacist might not recognize your ScriptSave WellRx card. If you experience difficulty, we have a toll-free number 1-800-407-8156. Feel free to make use of it. Better yet, ask the pharmacist to call us (there’s actually a special dedicated toll-free number specifically for questions from the pharmacy).

Whether you’re benefit disadvantaged or not, you owe it to yourself and your family to be a savvy ScriptSaver and learn how to save money on prescriptions. Ask for the prescription cash price with your ScriptSave WellRx card next time you fill or re-fill, and avoid the “You-Pays.”

 

Reference:

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-24/sworn-to-secrecy-drugstores-stay-silent-as-customers-overpay


For the best Rx price on medications, like
Crestor (rosuvastatin),
Celebrex (celecoxib),
ProAir HFA,

visit
www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

ScriptSave WellRx - diabetes glucose monitor check image

by:
Cherokie S. Boyd
Pharmacy Intern P1
SinfoniaRx Florida

What a time to be a person with diabetes! These days there are more medications on the market than ever to help you control your diabetes. But how do you know which medication is right for you?

Of course you should always consult your physician or your local pharmacist for medical advice. However, here is some information about these new medications so that you don’t feel out of the loop.

Some of the current insulin medications that you are used to are Lantus, Humalog, and NovoLog. These medications deliver the hormone insulin to your blood so that insulin can tell your cells to take in more glucose. This keeps your blood sugar down.

Then there are oral medications, like Metformin and Januvia. They both work by making your liver produce glucose less often. Metformin also makes your body more sensitive to the insulin that is already made in your body, while Januvia works to help your body increase insulin production. All of that keeps your blood sugar down.

Now we have the new kids on the block. The GLP’s (glucagon-like peptides), sometimes referred to as Incretin mimics. The GLP’s that are available by brand name are Victoza and Saxenda, Byetta and Bydureon, Tanzeum, and Trulicity. These medications work in three ways.

  • They increase the hormone incretin which triggers your pancreas to make its own insulin
  • They inhibit the hormone glucagon which is responsible for telling your liver to make more blood glucose
  • They make you feel fuller for longer by delaying gastric emptying, which helps you lose weight.

Now that last point is what has caught most people’s attention. It is true that some of these GLP’s can be used for weight loss, too. If you have type 2 diabetes, you know that losing weight is a benefit to help control blood sugar in overweight patients. These medications in particular can also affect your natural insulin production, which means you can get a lower dose of your insulin medications. It’s a win-win! But these medications are not to be used as a first line of defense against your diabetes. These medication’s main claim to fame is that they lower your A1C by 1% in most patients.

Your A1C is a blood test you get at the doctor’s office. It’s a measurement that can detect how well your blood sugar is being controlled over a period of 3 months. Usually you want this result to be somewhere under 7%. This reflects that your blood sugar is being controlled for a longer amount of time. Controlled blood sugar limits your risk for complications such as nerve pain and kidney problems.

Did I mention that these GLP medications can cost you around $700 a month? Not to worry. If these medications sound like something you want to add to your regimen don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about them. They might be on your health plans insurance formulary, or you might qualify for a prescription discount with the ScriptSave WellRx savings program. Compare it to your insurance copay. It may be cheaper!

Keeping your diabetes in control can be a struggle. Never forget the amazing impact that a diet full of vegetables can have for your body. Keep your body moving. Ample exercise each week is another natural way that you can get your prescribed insulin dose lowered.


ScriptSave WellRx Prescription Savings & Wellness News

Do you need to save money on insulin medications, like Lantus, Humalog, and NovoLog?

Visit www.WellRx.com to compare prices at pharmacies near you.

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