Friday, June 29, 2007

Drugs for less for your patients

Sometimes patients need to find medications for less. Here are a few tips. Please let me know if you have more advice on this topic!

1. Three companies that send medications by mail order. They do this in cooperation with most HMOS and also sell directly. Call the 800 customer service number of your HMO and check if they participate in one of these programs! These companies usually send you three months of medications, but charge only two copays. You save one third of the cost.

Caremark or


Express scripts




2. The “Partnership for Prescription Assistance” is an initiative that helps physicians and low-income patients find low cost and free medications. The program is accessible online at or by phone at 888-4PPA-NOW. It provides a single point of access to more than 475 patient assistance programs and connects to more than 150 assistance programs offered by drug makers themselves. It offers discounts on more than 1200 brand name and some generic medications.

3. Try

4. A company that orders drugs for you from a reliable Canadian pharmacy is “US Canadian Discount Drugs” in Hollywood, Fl. Tel: 888 989 0222. I nkow about them because relatives of mine live in the area. The company is run by Bernard Fox and Mel Stuart, two retired executives. They found a solution to high drugs prices that burden many seniors. They started as a service for the many not too wealthy retirees in South Florida, but offer their services to everybody. Call them and let them know what you need. They will tell you the exact price of the drug and will give you clear instructions. They have the medicines shipped right to your home and charge your credit card. They do not do birth control pills.

5. is a reputable Canadian pharmacy that ships to the US. AS you know the US pharma lobby has a very strong influence in the government and they succeeded in blocking some of the drug shipments from Canada to the US. All this "in the name of safety" - safety is such a great excuse!

6. Planned Parenthood in Boston on Commonwealth Ave has the least expensive oral contraceptives. Call them about their prices: tel 617-616-1600.

7. A great place to save money are prenatal vitamins. I recommend to my patients to take multivitamins (Centrum, One-a-day, Women’s daily, etc) instead of prenatal vitamins. Multivitamins have usually the same amount of folic acid, which is the only substance proven to make a difference in pregnancy. I also recommend store brand prenatal vitamins, e.g. Walgreen’s prenatal, CVS Prenatal, Brooks Prenatal, Wal-Mart prenatal, Prenatal Rx etc. My preferred over-the-counter prenatal vitamins are CVS Prenatal or Brooks Prenatal, since they contain 800 micrograms of folic acid, double the usual amount. On call I occasionally get phonecalls from patients asking for a "refill for my prescription prenatal vitamins". The last patient was paying $ 27 a month for prenatal vitamins. What a rip-off! You can buy CVS prenatal for the whole pregnancy for $25 .

If a patient is insured by an HMO it is less expensive to buy these vitamins over the counter rather than buying them with prescription. If you buy vitamins with a prescription you will be charged a $5 to 10 or even 15 and more in copay each month, which is higher than the cost of the over-the-counter vitamins. Only patients that are insured through Medcaid / Mass Health are better off with a prescription.

1 comment:

Lisa Emrich said...

Some good advice.

However, forget which does not approve or deliver medication assistance directly. They represent a huge PR campaign by PhRMA, the industry's lobbying group.

For comprehensive research, go directly to which has thorough information on government, pharmaceutical, and non-profit programs who offer help.

Also, ExpressScripts offers help for generic medications at and the application process is very simple.