Pharmacist shares money-saving tips as prices rise
Many patients are seeing huge price jumps in the cost of prescription drugs. Federal lawmakers are considering measures to combat the rising drug prices, but some places are finding small solutions on the state level, Montana included.
“So as of Jan. 1, Montana passed a law that allows pharmacists to talk to their customers about some of the things that are happening with the insurance companies. Prior to that the insurance companies had a gag clause that didn’t allow us to talk about it,” said Paul Brand, owner and pharmacist at the Florence Community Pharmacy.
Brand’s pharmacy has been serving the Florence community for 18 years, but recently there’s an extra strain on many customers.
"With the cost of our medication, without insurance, it would be, again, it would be so significant that it would be a matter of food or medication," said Florence resident Ron Reed.
"We've seen drug prices go through the roof. Drug companies that raise prices -- they've become publicly traded companies -- they raise their prices about every quarter about 15 percent for the brand-name drugs," said Brand.
Last year alone, prescription drug prices rose nearly six times the rate of inflation, but there are ways to make a pharmacy trip a little easier on the wallet.
Brand offered the following tips:
1.If you’re paying cash shop around and call different pharmacies and see what they’re charging.
2.Medicare patients should check and change their plans every year based on what’s cheapest.
3.Ask your pharmacist about coupons.
4.Research your insurance company and find out what they are doing with prescription drug pricing.
“Major employers like the counties or the hospitals have a lot of say in what type of insurance they buy, and they have a lot of pressure they can put on those PBMs (pharmacy benefit management companies) to make sure they’re not charging the patient extra money and that they’re actually paying for something with the prescription pricing,” said Brand.
Skyrocketing drug prices are leaving millions of Americans with some tough choices.
"When you buy your own insurance and pay for your insurance, and then on top of it you have high prescription prices it makes it all the more difficult to live and pay bills," said Reed.