Skin Cents: How to Be a Wise Consumer When it Comes to Prescription Medications

The good news is that there are now many, many prescription medications available, both manufacturer and generic, to provide relief and sometimes completely resolve a wide variety of skin diseases we see in the office. In most cases, we can write a prescription or recommend a combination of medications that will leave you highly satisfied with your outcome. But more and more, these solutions come at a high price. Prescription medications – even highly touted generic drugs that are supposed to be the answer to this problem – are coming with a hefty price tag. Couple this with the fact that many of our insurance plans have exceedingly high deductibles, or maybe are not covering prescriptions like they used to, and we have a problem on our hands. How can we fix a patient’s condition without exorbitant out of pockets expenses?

The answer is that this will take a team approach with our patients. There are just too many drugs, too many pharmacies, and too many insurance plans out there for us to pick the one most affordable drug. But by bringing this to light, we hope you as the patient can help us to keep costs under control.

Suggestions for keeping your out of pocket expenses in check:

  • Utilize mail order option – your insurance carrier may offer this type of plan which often requires that you fill your prescriptions in 90 day increments. The co-pays and out of pockets expenses are often lower with these plans. They often go unused by patients who prefer the familiarity of dealing with their preferred pharmacist, but it may pay off to check into them for filling your prescription from our office.
  • Shop around – if you prefer to take your prescription and do some phone shopping on your costs, just let our nurse know. Once you find the pharmacy that gives you the best pricing, we can enter them as your preferred pharmacy and, when available, we can electronically prescribe future prescriptions.
  • Check online websites – new sites are popping up that compare drug costs between pharmacies. Some offer discount coupons for enrolling.
  • Ask your pharmacist for the lowest price. They may talk to you about substituting a lower cost generic if that is available or might recommend a rebate enrollment program that they have teamed up with a manufacturer.

The key is realizing that you have power over the cost of your medications. Believe it or not, there can be a big difference in charges from one pharmacy to another. In 2013, Consumer Reports did some research, shopping more than 200 pharmacies throughout the U.S. to get prices on a month’s supply of five drugs that have recently become available as generics. The difference was significant, finding more than 447% difference overall between the lowest and highest priced pharmacies.

Your Midwest Dermatology Clinic physician will be happy to work with you in keeping costs down. If you have concerns, tell your nurse and she will work with the doctor to consider costs and prescribe quantities that make the best sense for you. Working together, we will find solutions to your skin problems at a price you can afford.

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