Finding a Bargain on Medication Can Be Just As Fun As Shopping for Shoes!

April 23, 2016

Lynda was paying over $400 a month for her pharmaceuticals WITH insurance until I showed her how fun it was to shop around for her medications and save!

1. Find the right application or the right pharmacy: Believe it or not, pharmacies charge different prices for the same drug. Lynda and I downloaded a few apps on our phones such as GoodRx and LowRx in order to familiarize us with some of the local pharmacies. In addition, these apps contained coupons for some of Lynda’s medications that we were able to download and arm ourselves with for our “shopping experience.” Extra Tip: Be sure you call any applications before using them. Find out which one works best for your needs… everyone has a different preference. My preference is customer service (and yes, these applications are FREE).

2. Cold call: We located a few pharmacies including some additional smaller pharmacies that were not listed on these applications and started making calls. We asked the following:

Do you have [insert pharmaceutical name and amount] we were looking for?
How much would it cost without insurance?
How about with a coupon such as the one I have in my hand from Goodrx or Lowrx? (they will ask for some other information that will be presented on the coupon that was downloaded/printed etc.)
Do you have any manufacturers coupons or specials that I might benefit from for my medication?
Do you have a generic version of this? (Be sure you doctor did not write DAW on your prescription, which means “Dispense as Written.”)

Sometimes the person who answers the phone at that pharmacy may not be the most informative or he/she may be super busy. Be patient and polite. Ask for someone that might be able to answer your questions to your satisfaction and if your armed with a price or two, mention it. For example, Lynda and I called a pharmacy for one of her medications were quoted over $100. When we called the next pharmacy, the pharmacist stated, “I can beat that price” and he did by nearly half!!!! Don’t let the annoying music or long wait dissuade you too much. The smaller pharmacies may not be armed with the staff, but do keep it on your “checklist” when narrowing down where you want to bring your business. These little “dings” can mean the difference between one pharmacy or the next if they reoccur too much without an explanation.

3. Meet the pharmacist: Establish a relationship, explain your concerns and ask for the discounts. I introduced Lynda to a pharmacist at SMC that I use to get some of my medications filled when I need them. Not only did he give us some additional discounts, but he gave Lynda an additional tip on one of her medications: get the higher dosage because it cost the same as the prescribed dosage (of course she would have to split the pill). Always verify with the prescribing doctor on “pill-splitting”. Within 10 minutes, Lynda’s prescriptions were filled and she got a bargain.

4. Keep you pharmacist on their toes: Before you fill your next prescription, shop around again. You might be surprised to learn how medication prices fluctuate, even weekly “within a pharmacy.” If you find the price changed, let your pharmacist know, and be transparent. Honesty is key and the competition will keep them negotiating.

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