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Do Your Pharmacy Homework

Dr. Berry provides the following tips to help you with your pharmacy expenses

Do Your Pharmacy Homework

Since pharmacy copays will go away in 2018, it’s important for you to do your homework and become an educated consumer, especially when purchasing prescription medications. Please note the following important tips:

  1. Review your regular yearly prescription medications and try your best to anticipate near-term use. See the CareATC formulary to discover which medications you need to obtain free of charge from CareATC. Given your other medical needs, how does the CareATC option compare to the HSA option for your overall costs?
  2. If you’re on mostly generic drugs that are not on the CareATC formulary, I suggest you review Walmart and Genscripts’ websites to see their costs for generic drugs. Neither one of these pharmacies has any official relationship with the City of Tulsa, but based upon my personal and professional experience they offer viable cost-effective options. Genscripts is a local pharmacy specializing in generic drugs at affordable rates and offers three locations: Midtown, Broken Arrow and Owasso. Genscripts won’t send your prescription through insurance, however you should be able to file the bill so it counts toward the deductible. You also may receive reimbursement through your HSA or FSA. Walmart offers many local pharmacy locations with a lengthy list of generic drugs for only a $4 per month charge. You can find the list at: www.Walmart.com/pharmacy – just click on the Drug Info & Pricing link on the left side of their web page to view their list.
  3. As a medical consumer, you should engage your medical provider NOW to have the following dialogue, especially if you’re on expensive drugs*:
    • Are there alternative medications for my condition that are cheaper? If not, can you assist me with reaching out to the pharmaceutical company for any available discount programs?
    • My experience here with employees and as a former PCP is: It’s easy to fall into prescribing habits that may not be the best for the patient from a financial perspective. Many expensive medications have reasonable alternatives except specialty drugs and almost all specialty drugs offer a discount program.
      *It’s not that difficult to do your own research on expensive drugs. For example, if you’re on Novolog insulin, look up the pharmaceutical company that makes it. The name will be on your prescription receipt on the product box. Novo Nordisk makes Novolog. A quick online search will show their website address. Once you’re on their website, search under diabetic drugs for Novolog. Then under Novolog, you can find coupons and any available discounts.
  4. I encourage you to try the following free medical apps (they all offer both strengths and weaknesses): OneRX, GoodRX, WeRX and Blinkhealth, plus its website: www.Blinkhealth.com – it’s similar to the others, but works slightly differently, so check it out! All of the above free medical apps are…
    • Available for both android and IOS
    • Well known in the medical community
    • Great at helping you search the pharmacies in your area to find the best prices and coupons, however the results may vary over time

Following all of these four steps won’t necessarily allow you to save on every prescription, but hopefully we can all learn to be better thrifty purchasers of prescription medications.
The other thing to keep in mind is as soon as our coverage begins on January 1, 2018, you can visit the BCBS website and use their pharmacy tool to assist you with making cost-effective pharmacy purchases.