Hire A Patient Advocate To Save Money On Prescriptions

AnnMarie Q. McIlwain

Aesop said “In union there is strength”. Had he lived today, he would have added savings (in union there is strength and savings), as in life altering, better living, money in your pocket savings by working with a medical bill advocate who knows where the lowest cost prescription drugs can be found.

Over the past decade, my firm has saved clients hundreds of thousands of dollars by merely shopping around without ever leaving our office.

According to a 2021 study, five million Medicare patients in the United States reported difficulty affording their medications. We don’t know how many people stop taking their medications, but we know that when they do, they put their health at risk and ultimately increase the money spent on their overall healthcare. For many, this is avoidable by being more selective about where they fill their prescriptions.

Take Eliquis, a popular blood thinner, particularly among Medicare beneficiaries. Here in the U.S., prices on GoodRx range from $578 to $664 for 60 generic 5 mg tabs while at Canadian pharmacies that will fill and ship your prescriptions to the lower 50 states, the price ranges from $84-164 for the very same product coming from a vetted pharmacy just over the border. That’s a potential $7,000 savings annually.

Cancer drugs are known for emptying the pockets of families quicker than a spring robin builds a nest. Zytiga is a popular drug used to treat prostate cancer. Using the RxGo site, another way to compare prescription drug prices, the generic form (250 mg for 30 tabs) ranges in price from $37.50 at CVS to $863.60 at Walgreens. On Mark Cuban’s website, the price is $33.50. No haggling, no printing down coupons and taking them to the store. One and done deal.

How about the drug de jour – Wegovy – for diabetes and weight loss. At the moment it is not available through Canadian pharmacies, but there are manufacturer coupons and financial assistance programs that enable some people to obtain the product for free. If these options are not for you, there is a drug called Rybelsus that works like Wegovy and can be obtained for as little as $10/month. Talk to your doctor about whether this would be a good choice for you.

For more insight on how to prevent pharma companies from vacuuming out your bank account, we recently appeared on NJ12 to provide their viewers with some tips. Since then, we have learned about a company, PillarRx, that helps find you savings for your regular medications. You start by completing their form and from there a patient advocate provides personalized service for free. Importantly, access to their co-pay assistance programs is not subject to low income requirements.

What this all adds up to is keeping your money where it belongs (with you) so that figuring out how to pay for a vacation this year, help a grandchild with college tuition or just plain keep the lights on doesn’t get mixed up with asking yourself “do I really need to fill that prescription”.

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