We all know stories about the rising cost of prescription drugs. We’ve heard about, or even experienced firsthand, needing a lifesaving drug only to be shocked by the sky-high price. We’ve visited a local pharmacy for a common antibiotic and still been surprised at how much it cost.
Prescription drug prices haven’t always been that way.
In the past few decades alone, the cost of medications has risen dramatically. According to this study of 49 common top-selling, brand-name drugs, “78% of the drugs that have been available since 2012 have seen an increase in insurer and out-of-pocket costs by more than 50%, and 44% have more than doubled in price.”
If those numbers aren’t staggering enough, “The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that Americans spent more than $460 billion on drugs—16.7 percent of total health-care spending—in 2016…. On average, citizens of other rich countries spend 56 percent of what Americans spend on the exact same drug” this article in the Atlantic Monthly posited.
So, what can the average American do to manage these rising prices? Is there a strategy that allows individuals to maintain their health and budget? Yes, there are options!
- Ask for generics. Sedera Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Hunt notes that “Almost all generics are far cheaper than they were 20 years ago.” Consumer Reports published, “Most brand-name drugs have generic equivalents, and these generics can be up to 90 percent cheaper.” Even if a physician has prescribed a brand-name drug, it never hurts to ask the pharmacist if there is a generic, it is very likely that it will be cheaper.
- Ask for manufacturer discounts. Many, if not most drug companies have assistance programs, coupons, or discounts. This website has information on Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs), and guidelines for working with manufacturers to help people in need.
- Consider Medical Cost Sharing. At Sedera, the costs of medications are shareable based on two categories: curative and maintenance. Curative medications are prescribed with the intent to cure a disease or ailment and to serve as a short-term bridge toward recovery and healing. Curative medications include: antibiotics, chemotherapy medications, or short-term pain medications, and such prescription drugs are shareable until treatment has concluded.
- Maintenance medications are prescribed to control an ongoing medical condition. Examples include medications for managing blood pressure or thyroid concerns. The costs for these medications are not shareable, but the Sedera Medical Cost Sharing Community has access to an incredible tool to make finding best-value prices quick and easy.
This tool is called The Rx Marketplace and it is available for all SELECT+ and ACCESS+ Members. It provides prices from 8 different discounts, mail order, and patient assistance programs, including 66,000 U.S. pharmacies and 20 international pharmacies. Members even have the option to access significant discounts at a local pharmacy or through home delivery.
The Rx Marketplace was designed to allow Sedera Members to effectively shop for their curative and maintenance prescription drugs while promoting price transparency and incentivizing market competition.
If you are not yet a Sedera Member, or are a current Member who has not yet transitioned to our Plus memberships, there are resources like Blink Health and GoodRx that aid in finding prescription discounts.
No matter how you manage your healthcare costs, it is important to remember that you have options.