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Friday Jun 12, 2020

Four strategies to reduce patients' prescription drug costs

The U.S. unemployment rate(data.bls.gov) jumped from 4.4% in March to 13.3% in May, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions taken by government in response to it. While there have been some signs of an economic rebound since then, many of your patients may still be out of work and worried about their finances.

Here are four ways to help them save money on their prescriptions:

1. Review the necessity of the patient's medications, and offer a deprescribing trial when appropriate.

2. Use extended (e.g., 90-day) prescriptions to reduce copayments, improve medication adherence, and reduce practice time devoted to processing refills.

3. Substitute a less costly medication, or use discount programs such as the “$4 lists” offered by most large chain pharmacies. Even patients with adequate insurance coverage may benefit from using these drug lists.

4. Use websites and apps such as GoodRx(www.goodrx.com) that compare costs between pharmacies and provide coupons for prescription medications. One study found that in nearly a quarter of filled prescriptions, patient copayments exceed the reimbursement pharmacies receive from insurance, so shopping around can help. Both GoodRx coupons and the $4 programs can be used by patients with Medicare coverage.


1. Van Nuys K, Joyce G, Ribero R, Goldman DP. Overpaying for prescription drugs: The copay clawback phenomenon. University of Southern California Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics; 2018. Accessed June 9, 2020 https://healthpolicy.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018.03_Overpaying20for20Prescription20Drugs_White20Paper_v.1-4.pdf(healthpolicy.usc.edu)

Read the full FPM article: “A Practical Approach to Reducing Patients' Prescription Costs.”

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Posted at 08:00PM Jun 12, 2020 by FPM Editors

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