A new and portable strategy for saving money on prescription drugs has just hit the market with the LowestMed app from LowestMed.com. Our research finds that the most substantial savings consumers can expect are for generic medications, but far less so when it comes to expensive brand named drugs.
To help American consumers “Find the lowest price… fast” at a local chain pharmacy, LowestMed has created a free smartphone application that uses the current location of your phone to find the nearest pharmacy with the lowest price on a prescription drug that you need. According to the Washington Post, “LowestMed also comes with a free discount card, which can further reduce the price of a medication by between 10 and 85 percent.”
Testing out this new savings strategy, we find that a 30-day supply of Lisinopril 10mg can cost anywhere from $10.00 (Target) to $36.63 (CVS) – the app not only helps you find the $26.63 savings – 73% but also to map the location for you.
While savings like those on Lisinopril are great, many consumers may need to turn to verified international pharmacies when shopping for big brand names. Thirty tablets of Plavix 75mg, for example, cost $197.64 at the cheapest bricks and mortar pharmacy on LowestMeds.com, $205.10 at the most expensive. Saving $7.46 per month is nice, but saving $153.10 is not only much better but necessary for some Americans who could simply cannot afford the U.S. price! Plavix costs just $52 for a month supply at the lowest priced international pharmacy in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification program – a savings of 74%!
Tagged with: app, brand-name, bricks and mortar, CVS, discount card, free discount card, generic, international p, Lisinopril, LowestMed.org, Plavix, smartphone, Target, United States, Washington Post
Our last post highlighted the end-of-the-month release of the long-awaited generic version of Lipitor, the most popular cholesterol-lowering drug in America. Brand-name Lipitor, manufactured by drug giant Pfizer, has been one of the key contributors to American’s high drug bills for the past 15 years. A generic version will mean massive savings for some and basic affordability for many.
Last week, however, the New York Times shared that Pfizer (unsurprisingly) wants to block access to that affordable generic. Pfizer is going to offer “large discounts for benefit managers that block the use of generic versions of Lipitor” – “When patients submit a prescription for a generic version of Lipitor, they are to be given Lipitor instead.” So, those covered by the benefit managers who accept the discount will end up paying the same high co-pay, despite the availability of a lower priced drug!
These tactics by the largest drug manufacturer to keep drug prices higher are disappointing but not surprising. After all, in addition to lobbying the U.S. government to prevent safe personal drug importation, it funds programs to scare Americans away from buying its own medication at a lower price from Canada and other countries.
Pfizer’s latest move seems to only affect Americans with health insurance who, under the Pfizer/benefit manager deal, would pay $25 monthly co-pays (instead of $10 per month) – that’s $75 for a three month supply. That’s a stark contrast to Americans without health insurance who can pay $535.00 at a local CVS in New York City. By comparing prices of verified online pharmacies at PharmacyChecker.com, the uninsured may at least knock their monthly brand name Lipitor costs to $85.70.
Fortunately, due to the economics of generic drug competition, generic Lipitor prices will eventually offer great savings to the uninsured and we’ll be keeping you updated as those new products come to market.
Tagged with: brand-name, Cholesterol, co-pays, CVS, generic drugs, health insurance, insured, Lipitor, New York City, New York Times, PBM, Pfizer, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacychecker.com, uninsured, United States
Last August AARP published an analysis stating that in 2009 brand-name drug prices increased by over 8%. Disturbingly, new AARP data shows that from 2009 to 2010, in the Rochester region of upstate New York, brand-name drug prices increased by a devastating 11%, almost seven times the average inflation rate of 1.6%.
The report, published by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the largest health insurer in the Rochester area, also finds that brand name drug prices increased by 93% between 2004 – 2010. This data explains why the number of Americans not taking their medication due to cost – 25 million – has almost doubled over the past ten years, a very sad state of affairs for America.
The report identified steep increases on popular brand name drugs for which there are no generic substitutes, such as Actos, Advair, Lipitor, Singulair and Nexium. For some American patients, U.S. prices are beyond reach and they must go without their medication. The exact same drugs can be found online from verified international online pharmacies at much lower prices, often 80% less, which can make the difference between people taking or not taking their prescribed medication. (more…)
Tagged with: BlueCross BlueShield, brand-name, Congress, Drug Prices, inflation, Medicare Part D, New York, President Obama, taxpayers, United States