How Pharmacists Can Help Patients Save Money

MAY 01, 2018
Pharmacists encounter many different and sometimes difficult situations every day. One issue that crops often is the cost of medication, which, after all, is not cheap. Not all patients are lucky enough to have great insurance, and sometimes, life is tough and the patient does not have any insurance. Other times, the patient has good insurance, but the needed drug is just not on formulary. Prior authorizations can take up to several days or weeks, and patients need their medications right away. It is part of a pharmacist's job to make sure that cost is not a barrier to adherence. Here are some tips:

Manufacturer Coupons
Depending on where a pharmacist works, his or her employer may or may not have a program that allows access to these coupons easily. But doing a quick Google search of the medication name should present a coupon through the manufacturer if one is available. Try typing in the drug name after the word coupon, and it should come up as 1 of the top 3 results listed. This may require some patient information or even patients to activate the cards themselves, but this is a way to potentially save them hundreds of dollars. I was able, for instance, to access a manufacturer coupon at work for a patient on Xarelto, bringing the price down to $10 from more than $400.

Drug Representatives
Instead of shunning the drug reps who visit the pharmacy, welcome them. I interact with at least 1 rep every 2 weeks in my pharmacy. These reps come prepared with material that informs me about the latest drug products, and they also hand out coupons, which I place in a basket next to my drop-off station to apply when patients come in for those particular medications. Reps have given me very valuable coupons for various insulin medications and inhalers, which have helped me save patients a lot of money.

Various Websites
Type in "drug coupons" in any internet search, and a bunch of options will appear. Good RX offers a lot of price reductions and even saves patients more money than some insurance plans, in some instances. Pharmacists can also find coupons for various vaccines on Good Rx, such as the Shingrix, the new shingles vaccine.
           
Use these resources to save patients money and keep them on the right track in terms of medication adherence. 

Shelby Leheny, Pharm D, B.S
Shelby Leheny, Pharm D, B.S
Shelby Leheny received her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and her Bachelor's of Science degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a pharmacist at CVS.
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