Hey there EZMed Podcaster!
Lately Veer and I have encountered many patients complaining about the cost of medications. When we hear our patients say “I wish I had affordable medications” or “my insurance won’t pay for that” we are deeply saddened.
Last week I had a patient that I had not seen for 2 years.
I knew something was up because he used to come every 6 months for his blood pressure checks. He said he was here for an ER follow up. I was quite shocked to learn that he ended up in the emergency department for a severe headache.
Turns out, this was due to dangerously high blood pressures. Upon further inquiry I learned that he was simply unable to afford his medications. Without informing his doctor (me), he had tried to ration, taking 1 pill every other day to “get extra mileage”.
He, like many others on multiple medications for chronic diseases, had been drowning in pharmacy bills of unspeakable amounts.
Quickly, I reviewed his medication list to see what I could do. I pulled up Wal-Mart’s $4 list to see what medications I could change him to. Luckily, I was able to find the equivalent or generic on the $4 list for virtually all of his medications. Even better, they offered a 90-day supply for $10, which is $3.33 per month!
He was ecstatic.
But let’s get to the chase. The purpose of this post is not to encourage other doctors to choose affordable alternatives for their patients, but to make all of you as the patients aware of ways that you can attain affordable medications, including these “value lists” that are available now at pretty much every major pharmacy including Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, Target and more. We have inserted links to each of those 4 major pharmacies directly to PDF that you can print out (please let us know if any links are broken and we will update).
Here is a comprehensive list of options we have come up with to help you get the most affordable medications:
1. Ask your doctor for the generic to be prescribed instead of brand names.
2. Ask if the prescribed medication is available on the value list for the pharmacy of your choice. In fact, your doctor will even appreciate if you can print out a list at home and take it with you to your visit (see links above).
3. Check GoodRx.com for a coupon (particularly good for brand name or expensive medications without generic alternatives).
4. Ask your doctor for sample supplies (specialists will often have large supplies of expensive brand name medications stocked thanks to drug reps and will happily hand out “more than a few” to patients in need).
5. Ask your doctor about pill splitting. Sometimes larger doses of medications cost less than smaller doses. Don’t ask us why. For example, a 100 tablets of the muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine costs $164 for the 5mg dose but only $115 for the 10mg dose. Another example is Viagra, we commonly prescribe 100mg tablets because they are the same price as 25mg or 50mg tablets, and the patients can use pill splitting to save.
6. Fill your scripts across the border in Canada!
Now get out there and save some money! The pharmaceutical industry makes enough as it is!
Shoot us an e-mail and let us know how much this has helped save on your monthly scripts.