Using the Web to Help You Buy Discounted Prescription Drugs
(5/24/11)- New York City has introduced its first official drug discount card called the "BigAppleRx" which is intended to make medications more affordable for all. Any member of the public can use the card, whether they live in the city or not.
The card is free of charge and is available for usage in more than 2,000 of the city's pharmacies.
For more information about getting the card, go to www.bigapplerx.com or call 311.
(10/29/08)- If you are looking for generic drugs or other alternatives to brand name drugs try DestinationRx Inc. (drx.com), a Los Angeles company that helps compare health care prices.
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs (crbestbuydrugs.org), the Website for the nonprofit Consumer Union looks for the best price for different drugs with the intended to deal with certain ailments.
The National Council on Aging has a database on its site, BenefitsCheckupRx.org, that will help you find assistance programs available to you from the drug companies
Wal-Mmart offers hundreds of generic prescription drugs at prices lower than the co-payments charged by some drug plans. The company charges $10 for a 90-day supply of over 400 generic drugs. It charges $4 for a 30-day supply of those same generic drugs.
CVS Caremark charges $69.99 a year for its Health Savings Pass and provides a 5% to 50% discount on generic and brand prescriptions.
Membership in Rite Aide Corp.'s Rx Savings Card gets members of all ages special prices on 400 generic drugs and a 20% discount on all other medications,
NeedyMeds.org lets patients search for applicable programs, search for local help with paperwork and find assistance based on location or disease.
RxAssist.org allows patients to search a database of patience-assistance programs by medication.
Rxoutreach.com (1-800-769-3880) offers more than 350 generic drugs at a cost of $20 to $95 for 180-day supplies.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance (pparx.org or 1 888 477 2669) is the pharmaceutical industry's site that helps match patients to more than 475 private and public programs with aid of an online tool.
(7/15/05)- If you are looking for information about what a particular state is doing to help the elderly with prescription drug costs please go to the site set up by the National Conference of State Legislatures located at http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/drugaid.htm. We want to thank our viewer Christopher Uptergrove for pointing out this site to us.
(5/3/05)-Merck & Co. announced that it would begin a discount drug program that will offer discounts of between 15% to 40% on its medications to uninsured Americans regardless of age or income. Pfizer has announced a similar program except for the fact that its program does have income restrictions. Most drug makers, including Merck have free medication programs aimed at patients with incomes of less than $19,000.
One of the purposes of the program will be specifically aimed at undercutting the price of Merck's medications for those who buy the drug through a Canadian facility. A spokesman for the company also stated that the discounts would be as large as those received by those who purchase Merck's drugs in large quantities. The company said it would also launch an "aggressive multimillion-dollar communications and grass-roots campaign" to raise awareness of the program.
(4/24/05)-The pharmaceutical industry is initiating a new program called Partnership for Prescription Assistance that will direct people to a toll free number or to an Internet site for help in obtaining free medications. After the phone interview, callers will receive forms by mail for the drugs sought, while those completing a form online can print out the form. The forms are then taken to a doctor for final approval. The Web site for the program is www.pparx.org and the toll free number is 888 477 2669.
The eligibility standards for free medicines vary by company. In general most drug companies use two times the poverty level as the cutoff point for their free medication programs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty threshold was $9,827 for a person younger than 65 years of age last year. Omnicom Group's Cline Davis & Mann developed the print and broadcast campaign.
(10/13/04)-The most commonly asked question that we at therubins get in our email are questions that relate to getting prescription drugs at the lowest cost possible. This article will put this information in one place so that hopefully you can find a site or program that will help you or a loved one with the high cost of prescription medication.
There are some Web sites that can help you in this matter. One that we found that is particularly useful as a search engine to help you comparison shop for drugs is www.destinationrx.com
Either one of the following Canadian based online pharmacies- www.canadapharmacy.com or www.crossborder.com are the sites used by the state of Minnesota.
There are now at least 240 programs, covering nearly 800 drugs, to help people of various ages and incomes in obtaining needed prescription drugs at discounts. The National Council on the Aging, a non-profit group located in Washington has launched a site that can be quite helpful to you in this matter.
It is located at http://www.benefitscheckup.org. "Anyone on Medicare who doesn't have insurance now for drugs and has an income under $28,000 alone or $38,000 as a couple, will find at least one program now to save them money," says James Firman, the group's president. In addition, this site can help some higher income people as well since it searches for about 116 patient-assistance programs sponsored by the drug companies themselves. The site will also search for the drug-discount cards sponsored by the individual drug company, or for combined drug companies' discount cards such as TogetherRx.
The BenefitsCheckupRx site has a pull-down list of drug names on it, so that you do not have to know the exact spelling of the medication that you are seeking. You do not have to know the manufacturer of the drug you are looking for since the site will give you a report with any programs for which you should qualify, along with information on how to apply.
The site has information about 30 state-funded programs, which offer discounts to older people with lower incomes. In New York, the Epic+ Program offers aid to people who are 65 and older with annual incomes of as much as $35,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a couple.
There is a prescription drug program that is available that will help needy individuals apply to drug companies in order to be able to obtain their drugs at no cost at all. The name of the program is the Medicine. The organization will work in conjunction with your physician to help you apply to one of the programs available from the various drug companies for no charge prescription drugs.
If you go to the company's site you will find the application form needed for enrolling in the program. Once you send in the application the company states that they will respond to your application by return mail. If you want to visit their site please go to http://www.themedicineprogram.com. To quote from their site:
"Our function, in cooperation with the physician, is to assist patients who may qualify to enroll in one or more of the many patient assistance programs now available. These programs provide prescription medicine free of charge to individuals in need, regardless of age, if they meet the sponsor's criteria."
For further information on this program please see our article: The Medicine Program-Helping Those Who Can't Afford Their Prescription Drugs
There are some membership organizations that offer prescription-drug programs for a fee. AARP offers such a program through its "MemberRx Choice", discount drug card which is accepted at many pharmacies, for $19.95 a year.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs covers the cost of prescription drugs at a sharp discount for a small co-pay. The drug must be prescribed by one of its doctors and filled at one of its facilities.
The U.S. government's site at http://www.medicare.gov will also lead you to many public and private programs that will help you defray the cost of your medications. The database will screen the availability of the help you can get based on your state or ZIP code.
The site http://www.phrma.org will screen for the manufacturer's patient assistance programs if you enter the drug's name.
The site http://www.medicarerights.org lists contact information and details abut state and private-assistance programs, discount cards, mail-order pharmacies and Internet-based discount programs.
The site http://www.needymeds.com will provide information about patient-assistance programs and a comparison of discount cards.
www.safemedication.com is the consumer site of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. It provides easy to read information on more than 700 drugs and includes a Medication Safety checklist. It also provides information on the side effects of the drugs listed and what to do if you miss a dose.
www.drugdigest.org is the consumer site of ExpressScripts, one of the largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs). It has information on drugs, vitamins and herbs, and disease management. A Compare Drugs feature can help you decide whether one band-name drug might be better than another.
www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo The FDA's Consumer Drug Information page has general information about prescription drugs approved since January 1998, including some not yet on the market. Each drug fact sheet has information based on the approved package insert.
www.rxlist.com An advertiser supported site that is continually updated information on the most-prescribed drugs, including side effects, drug interactions, dosage and precautions.
www.drugs.com This ad supported site offers a drug-interaction checker, pill identifier and search function for information on 24,000 drugs. It also has the latest drug news and articles, including reports on FDA actions.
(10/12/04)-www.NYAGRx.org has the average prescription drug prices from all 62 New York counties. Under New York State law pharmacies are supposed to maintain a list of their prices, to be given to consumers on demand, for the 150 most popular prescription drugs. This site which was set up by the New York State Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer gives the average price for the 25 most popular prescription drugs.
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, the Democratic Governor of Illinois announced that the state and the state of Wisconsin had initiated a Web site for residents of the respective states that would enable the residents to buy 100 of the most common drugs used by Americans for chronic ailments. The drugs would be available at anywhere from a 25% to 50% discount from Canada, Britain and Ireland. The address for the site is www.i-saverx.net
FOR AN INFORMATIVE AND PERSONAL ARTICLE ON PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS WHEN SELECTING A NURSING HOME SEE OUR ARTICLE "How to Select a Nursing Home"
updated May 24, 2011
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