Your medicine may come with a new side effect -- financial pain. Prescription-drug spending is growing at a phenomenal rate according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). And, the sickest Americans are bearing the biggest burden. Some 43 percent of those in fair or poor health say it’s somewhat or very difficult to afford their medications, and 37 percent say they’ve skipped out on filling a prescription because of cost, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
What has changed? An article in Money magazine stated that generic drugs, long an affordable alternative to name-brand medicines, have become part of the problem. The average price of the 50 most popular generic drugs increased 373 percent between 2010 and 2014, according to a major pharmacy benefit management company. One culprit is consolidation: After a decade of mergers, three big companies now control 40 percent of the generics market, according to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Weaker competition means drug companies can charge insurers more. Meanwhile, pricey new miracle drugs—like hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi ($1,000 per pill for an 84-pill course) -- are also a key factor in forcing up overall medication costs.
Fortunately, there are ways for patients to save out-of-pocket costs. By making strategic changes in the medications they take (with their doctor’s approval, of course), the places they buy their prescriptions, their insurance plans, and using drug coupons or discounts, they may be able to shave 40 percent or more off their total prescription-drug costs in a single year. Here are the steps to take.
Make sure your physician is using e-prescribing to order your drugs. Embedded in the eazyScripts’ e-prescribing software are multiple capabilities/methodologies to ensure that pharmacists and patients are using the most cost-effective drugs/prescriptions that are available. In addition to examining the most cost-effective drugs through sophisticated formularies and pre-authorization technologies, the software can also identify drug coupons and other discounts that are available to lower out-of-pocket costs -- even more. E-prescribing in not only more efficient, but it can save patients real dollars!