• Four strategies to reduce patients' prescription drug costs

    The U.S. unemployment rate 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 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

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

    Posted on Jun 12, 2020 by FPM Editors

    Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.