Resources for Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
With the rising cost of prescription and healthcare services, patients are looking for ways to reduce prescription drug costs. According to the US Census, 15.7% or 48.6 million Americans do not have health insurance in 2011. Many resources are available to reduce prescription drug costs such as prescription assistance programs, comprehensive online databases, and discount savings programs. These programs are NOT health insurance; they help patients obtain prescription drugs at reduced or no cost.
Prescription Assistance Programs
Most pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs for the drugs and supplies they manufacture. Visit the website of the drug manufacturer to learn more about their programs.
Drugs discounts can also be found at individual drug websites. For example, a $10 co-pay program for the drug Tecfidera can be found at www.Tecfidera.com or a 30 day free trial of the drug Abilify can be found at www.Abilify.com.
Comprehensive online services and databases can be used to find information on pharmaceutical and healthcare assistance programs. The services are free and include:
RxAssist provides information on assistance programs that are run by pharmaceutical companies. Patients may be able to obtain medications at reduced or no cost through this service.
NeedyMeds provides information on patient assistance programs and healthcare assistance programs. Patients can get assistance on medication and healthcare costs and apply directly to drug manufacturers and other organizations.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualified patients find patient assistance programs to obtain medications at reduced or no cost.
RxOutreach provides affordable medications to patients who meet the income requirements.
Discount Savings Programs
Retail drugstores are providing their patients with discount programs to aid in reducing costs of prescription and healthcare services. Some examples include:
Costco: Costco Member Prescription Program (CMPP) is a value added benefit of Costco membership that provides eligible Costco members and their eligible dependents with lower prices for certain prescription drugs. Program’s Preferred Drug List is an abbreviated guide of drugs offered in the program
Eligibility: Costco members and their dependents who have no prescription drug coverage available or whose insurance does not cover all their prescription medications can join. Patients are NOT eligible if receiving benefits from a publicly funded health care program, such as Medicare or Medicaid; are covered under a commercial health insurance policy; or have health coverage through an employer.
Join by completing the enrollment form and return it to a Costco pharmacist.
Cost: participation in program is FREE for eligible Costco members. Annual Costco membership is $55 for Gold Star membership and $110 for Executive membership.
Savings: All prescription medicine will be discounted, which varies with the specific drug.
Eligibility: Available to all patients with valid prescriptions at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walmart Mail Service and Neighborhood Market pharmacies in the United States, except North Dakota. No application is necessary.
Cost: FREE for all patients. Sam’s Plus Membership costs $100 per year.
Savings: on certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages. For example, $4 for 30 day supply of most generics or $10 for 90 day supply of most generics. Higher dosages cost more. See the List of $4 Generics and Extra Value Drug List for additional savings on prescriptions as a Sam’s Club Plus Member.
CVS Pharmacy: Health Savings Pass Program is a prescription savings pass that allows patients to save on prescriptions
Eligibility: Available to all patients. Must use either Health Savings Pass or other insurance. May not use Health Savings Pass in conjunction with other insurance on the same prescription or medical service.
Cost: $15 annually per person.
Savings: $11.99 for 90 days supply of over 400 generic prescriptions. View a complete list of generic medicines here. 10% off at MinuteClinic on any regular priced health service or screening, up to $10 per person, per visit. Save 10% off annual flu shot and save $10 on 50 count TRUEtest strips (limit 2 per month).
Walgreens Pharmacy: Prescription Savings Club is a program that gives discounts on healthcare products and services including brand name medications and over 700 generic medications.
Eligibility: For patients who are not receiving benefits from Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state health care programs. Enroll in Prescriptions Savings Club here.
Cost: annual fee of $20 for an individual or $35 for a family. Membership may be cancelled within 30 days of issue date for full refund.
Savings: Discounts on brand name and generic medications. View Value-Priced Medication List. Patients may receive 5 to 20 percent discount on most immunizations; 10 percent discount on Walgreens brand, brand products, and in-store photo finishing services; and discount on pet medications with a human equivalent, all compound medications, nebulizers and diabetic supplies with a valid prescription
Rite Aid Pharmacy: Rx Savings Program gives discounts on brand and generic prescriptions and healthcare supplies.
Eligibility: All patients can enroll in this program at the store. Patients cannot use this program in conjunction with prescriptions that are paid by publicly funded healthcare programs.
Cost: FREE for all patients
Savings: At least 15% on select brand name prescriptions. List of generic drug is available here and prices may vary by location. Discounts include 30 days supply of select generics for $9.99; 90 days supply of select generics for $15.99; select generic oral contraceptives for $19.99; and 50 count of Rite Aid TRUEtest diabetic test strips for $29.99.
Websites of foundations for specific disease and conditions have information on patient assistance programs funded by pharmaceutical companies. These programs provide patients with information and financial assistance on medications used to treat the disease. Here are some foundations that provide program information:
Multiple Sclerosis: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a list of Patient Assistance Programs for drugs used for treating multiple sclerosis. This foundation also provides information on the pharmaceutical company, application process, and contact information for the manufacturers of drugs used to treat Multiple Sclerosis.
Diabetes: Prescription Assistance Programs are available for diabetes medications and can be found at the American Diabetes Association website. Many pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance on diabetic supplies and prescriptions.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS): Common Patient Assistance Program Application (CPAPA) is a single common application used by uninsured patients to apply for multiple assistance programs that provide an entire course of antiretroviral therapy.
This program is a result of the collaboration by the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, 7 leading pharmaceutical companies and foundations, and their HIV patient assistance programs: Abbott Lab, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Merck and ViiV Healthcare. Patient assistance programs may provide free or discounted medications to qualifying patients.
Cancer: local and national service organizations offer financial assistance and resources for patients with cancer. Here is information on some of them. More information can be found at cancer.net.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC) is a coalition of financial assistance organizations that assist with financial challenges and promote better health for patients with cancer
CancerCare can help patients with cancer-related costs in transportation to and from cancer treatment, home care, child care, lymphedema supplies (breast cancer only), and pain medications.
Eligibility: To qualify patients must have a diagnosis of cancer confirmed by an oncologist, be in active treatment for the cancer, live in the US or Puerto Rico; and meet eligibility guidelines of 250% of the Federal Poverty Limit.
Men with cancer must meet one of the following criteria:
Diagnosed with multiple myeloma through the Door-To-Door program
Live in New York City (Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island)
Residing in San Diego and Imperial counties in California
Women have no geographic restrictions. Apply by calling 800-813-HOPE (4673)
CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps patient’s with co-payments for chemotherapy and target treatment drugs. Current funding is available only for Gastric Cancer and Glioblastoma
Eligibility criteria is based on financial, medical and insurance situations
Income limits: Individuals or families with incomes of up to four times the federal poverty level may qualify. For example, a family of four can have income up to $94,200 in the 48 contiguous states and DC, $117,760 in Alaska, and $108,360 in Hawaii.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Must be diagnosed with one of the cancer types that the foundation covers; diagnosis must be verified by a doctor; must currently be in active chemotherapy or targeted treatment; must receive treatment in the United States.
Insurance Coverage: Must be covered by private insurance, employer-sponsored health plan or Medicare Part B, C, or D. Patients without insurance are NOT eligible.
Program Contact: Phone: 866-55-COPAY (866-552-6729), 212-601-9750; Fax: 212-601-9760; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Mail: CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation, 275 Seventh Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10001.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s patient financial aid program provides financial assistance to patients with confirmed blood cancer diagnosis. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Co-pay Assistance Program is additional financial assistance qualified patients may receive.
Patients may receive assistance in:
Cancer treatment-related co-pays
Private health insurance premiums
Private insurance co-pay obligations
Medicare premium, spend-down or co-pays
Must have prescription insurance coverage
Have household income at or within 500 percent of the US federal poverty guidelines as adjusted by the Cost of Living Index
Reside on the US or Puerto Rico and be medically and financially qualified
Have an LLS Co-pay Program-covered blood cancer diagnosis confirmed by a doctor
Prescription assistance programs are available for chemotherapy and targeted treatments of cancer.
University of Arizona Cancer Center has compiled a very comprehensive list of cancer treatments and prescription assistance programs.
This article provides a guide to financial assistance programs for medications. Patients should explore these resources to help reduce the cost of their medications.