Published April 9th, 2020 by Stephanie
Recent research has shown that 66% of all adults in the United States use prescription medication. That is more than 131 million people. Prescription medication use is particularly high among seniors and those with chronic conditions. In 2016, the United States spent $329 billion on prescription drugs. We Americans pay two to six times more for prescription medication than any other developed country, yet our per capita income is in line with other developed countries.
The average American pays $858 per person on prescriptions. This is twice as much as Australia and three times higher than in European countries. These statistics are staggering. So what happens if you cannot afford the out of pocket costs of your prescription. People who do not have health insurance will ask for less expensive treatments, seek out alternative therapies or just do not take the medication at all.
The primary reason that prescription medication prices are so high is that there are no limitations as to what pharmaceutical companies can charge for the drug. When a company has developed a new medication, that company gains exclusive rights to make and sell their drug and that right lasts several years. During that time, they can charge as much as the patients are willing to pay. The patient cannot negotiate for a lower price, unless they have a prescription discount card . Patients are not the only ones who cannot negotiate with big pharma.
Many health insurance plans are also unable to negotiate drug prices. An example of this is Medicare. Over 55 million Americans over 65 are on Medicare. However, federal law prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices or to determine which prescriptions they will cover. Medicare is required to cover almost all medications that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves. In addition to not having any price limitations, pharmaceutical companies receive substantial United States government assistance in the form of publicly funded research and in major tax breaks. For example, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the US is Eli Lilly Corporation who earned $24.556 billion in 2018 and with the new tax laws, paid $0 in taxes in 2019.
While pharmaceutical companies get substantial US government funded research and major tax breaks, they continue to charge outrageous prices for medications. Price gouging on insulin is a well known example. In 1922, two Canadian scientists, Federick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin, a treatment for diabetes. Hoping it would lead to a cure for diabetes, they sold their patent to the university of Toronto for $1. Today, a vial of insulin in the United States averages $300, having doubled in price since 2012 and tripled the decade before that.
In America more than 1.25 million people suffer from Type 1 diabetes. It is essential that they use insulin to maintain their blood sugar levels. The average diabetic with type 1 diabetes spends about $5,705 per year. One in four patients with diabetes admit to rationing their insulin to make the dose last longer due to the high price of insulin. Among insulin users African Americans, Hispanics and Asians have suffered the most, as statistically they are more likely to have diabetes and less likely to have insurance according to the Journal of American Medical Association. Insulin is only one of hundreds of prescription medications that are outrageously priced. So what can you do to get your medicine at a reasonable cost. It seems impossible.
The way to get the cheapest prescriptions without insurance is with a prescription discount card. Prescription discount programs pass over big pharma drug manufacturers and negotiate with the stores that sell the prescriptions. The way it works is that the pharmacist understands if your medication is too expensive for you, chances are you will not get it filled. So their profit is zero. But if they give you an affordable discount say for example your insulin, they will make some profit and perhaps pick up a few other items as well.
Companies that offer prescription discount cards such as USA Rx, are known as pharmacy benefits managers (PBM). PBMs get lower prices with the following process:
1. Set Up A Network of Pharmacies: The network of pharmacies include both national chains and local, independent pharmacies. The more networks the PBMs set up the more options you have with your prescription card.
2. Negotiates Prices: PBMs will negotiate with each store in the network to get discounts for their cardholders. Often the amount of the discount varies from pharmacy to pharmacy or drug to drug. This is why you want to search for the prescription card that has the most pharmacies.
3. Customer Uses The Card: The customer finds the lowest price for their prescription and goes to the pharmacy that is the least expensive. They present their card to the pharmacist and get the discounted price.
When deciding which is the best prescription discount card there are several things that are beneficial to you that the company you use should have available. They include:
So if you are looking for cheapest prescriptions without insurance, or looking to lower your co-pay, USA Rx can help. We can provide you with a risk free way to save money. With over 60,000 pharmacies in our network, we know our free prescription discount card can not only save you money, but all you to get the medication you need to take care of your health.