Q. I am lucky to have insurance through my employer, but I need more medications as I grow older.

Last month, my doctor and I discussed new drugs for two health problems. Because I have had serious negative reactions to many generics, we opted for name brands.

My insurance company refuses to pay Tier 3 ($70 for 90 day mail supply) for the brand name medications that my doctor and I agreed would be best. As a result, my budget was blown to shreds. I had to pay $420 for 2 drugs last month, and now must determine which other bills not to pay now and next month. What else can I do?

A. Many insurance companies have created a multi-tier payment system to discourage the use of expensive brand-name medicines. This might seem reasonable, but we are concerned. So many people have reported problems with generic drugs on our Web site that we are no longer confident of their quality.

People who need pricey prescriptions may want to shop comparatively using a service such as www.PharmacyChecker.com. Another option might be to buy brand name drugs from reliable Canadian online pharmacies. Be aware, though, that some online drugstores masquerade as Canadian.

We are sending you our Guide to Saving Money on Medicine for guidance on determining which online pharmacies are legitimate.

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  1. kathryn
    Reply

    I had a pharmacist in a small town quote me a price on my prescription of 200 dollars. I went to a chain store pharmacy and it only cost me 20. same drug same amount.
    Where could I go to report this type of fraud?

  2. T
    Reply

    Talk about medicines going up in price. I paid $42 for 100 pills of Synthroid before the start up of the government’s start up of cheap drug program.
    I paid $67.09 for my Synthroid on 6/29/09.
    I don’t carry prescription drugs on my insurance. Turns out that by dropping this, I can save over $100 a month on my insurance.
    I don’t think the cost of these drugs should be raised that high to make up for the government program.
    I cannot take the generic drugs. Generics bounce my T4 all over the place. The only thing I can think of is the fact the pharmacy uses various generic brands (cheapest) and I get one brand one time and another brand the next. I have done really well on the Synthroid when Doc checks the Thyroid tests.

  3. IAC
    Reply

    I have problems with medicines, generic or not. Due to health issues my husband and I were forced to close and retire from our business. I had to apply for TX high risk pool health insurance because of 2 cancers and chronic conditions; I will not qualify for Medicare for 18 more months. I was forced to take early retirement income from Social Security (at much reduced benefit) so I can care for my mother and husband. Now my insurance policy has jumped the premium to take all my income, leaving only $15/mo for high deductible of $2500 (which I always meet) along with myriad chronic problems not covered by the policy and a host of medications as well. After battling GERD, esophagitus and gastritis for 19 years, the only effective med has been Prevacid (I have tried them all.) But the insurance management “hired” a new pharmaceutical company to first deny the RX and require one which was like OTC. I almost had another trip to the hospital because of severity of pain before my doctor intervened and the company relented. It still cost me $100/90 days. Now they have notified me that I will have to pay more than $500/90 day supply. I must resort to generic from Canada and wonder : “What will the insurance company do next, make me sell my house so I can pad their pockets more?”

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