The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1046: How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

The cost of prescription drugs has been outpacing inflation for years. Is there any way to save money on pricey prescriptions?
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How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

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Prescription medications cost more in the US than anywhere else in the world. What’s behind the high cost of these drugs? How are insurance companies and other payers coping with costs? Is there any way to save money on a prescription?

How Can You Save Money on Your Prescriptions?

With the price of medicines rising much faster than the general rate of inflation, smart strategies to shop for prescriptions are essential. Generic drugs were supposed to be the lifeline to economical prescriptions, but even those have risen remarkably in price. Get tips on how you can save money on your medicines from Lisa Gill of Best Buy Drugs at Consumer Reports. The websites she mentioned are GoodRx.com and BlinkHealth.com.

Vinay Prasad, MD, describes how critical treatments such as those for cancer or hepatitis C came to cost so much. He has objected to the superlatives used to promote these medications to physicians as well as to the public (JAMA Oncology, Jan., 2016).

This Week’s Guests:

Lisa Gill is deputy content editor of Best Buy Drugs for Consumer Reports. The website is www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/prescription-drugs/best-buy-drugs/index.htm

The article, Is There a Cure for High Drug Prices? was published in the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports.

Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH, is assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology Oncology in the Knight Cancer Institute. He is also a senior scholar in the Center for Health Care Ethics in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University.

His website is http://www.vinayakkprasad.com/  Dr. Prasad is co-author, with Adam Cifu, MD, of the book, Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives.

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The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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My son has Type 1 diabetes and the cost of his insulin pens is at least $400 a month. We have to pay that as we have a high-deductible plan. I worry that he won’t be able to pay this when he’s out on his own. I have emailed my legislator and didn’t even get a reply back.

I cannot listen to the free podcast MP3 without giving my name, address, credit card.

Most of all we need to let medicare negotiate for the cost of drugs the way the VA and most other governments do. Then we need to let the insurance companies unite to fight the cost of higher prices without fear of anti-trust laws. Write your congressman! Our economy can’t stand this manipulation by big pharma.

would like to have readers’ comments. Thanks

The price of drugs began going up when the average consumer began paying a copay rather than a % of the cost. Then consumer pressure on price went away.

Next with ACA the pharmaceutical companies agreed to cover 1/2 the price of Medicare patients’ cost during the doughnut hole. Then the price of drugs tripled.

If we want drug prices to fall patients would be asked to pay a % of the cost with a reasonable deductible and copay or discount cards would not be allowed. Then the public would be exposed to the cost and the prices would fall. Now pharmaceutical companies would compete based on value rather than tricky pricing contracts with insurance companies.

The other alternative is government price controls but as you are aware this would be slow and political.

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