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Old 09-01-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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FREE AND LOW-PRICE PRESCRIPTIONS


Introduction


Most of us here on PC have been prescribed medications to help with the symptoms of our problems. Some of us, probably a small minority, have no difficulty buying these “meds” every month. But for most of us that monthly expense is a real burden, particularly if we’re on small, fixed incomes. Even if we HAVE Medicare D, particularly when we fall into the doughnut hole, it’s tough. Well, there ARE programs out there that will help us save substantially on our meds, even to the point of getting them free. This article is about how to do that, how to get meds free or at least at a substantial discount. Some of you may already know how to do it, but there are many on PC who do not. So this was written and intended for you folks in the United States (unfortunately, not elsewhere) who need to save on prescription drugs but haven’t known how.

The article is divided into two sections: Generics and Branded, since the ways of saving money are different for generic drugs on the one hand and brand-name drugs on the other. URL’s are provided for each important resource. All you need do is either click on them to be taken to the relevant page referred to in the text, or copy the URL and paste it into the upper line on your web browser.

Of course, all of the resources belong to organizations, public or private, that always have the freedom to change their money-saving programs and their websites. What is presented here is all as of the date this article was prepared (9/1/10). The article will be updated now and then and text and URL’s changed where necessary, but there is no guarantee that what is presented to you here will remain the same at the time that you read the article and try to use its information.

Generics


You all know what “generics” are. They’re drugs that used to be branded but on which the patent has expired, so all companies are free to produce the drug, usually at a substantial savings to the consumer. But the standard, over-the-counter prices of generics are still sufficiently significant to be a problem, particularly for people who have to buy more than one medication a month. So, as you may be aware, many large pharmacy chains, or stores that have pharmacies within them, have in-house programs that offer discounts on generics to their customers.

You may well ask why for-profit pharmacies offer such advantageous programs to their customers. While none of us have ever spoken directly to a pharmacy manager about the matter, it is probable that their profit margins on generics are quite low. By tying you to their pharmacy for repeat prescriptions and repeat visits, they are not giving up very much by lowering prices on generics and they increase the chance that you will buy their other merchandise, on which the profit margins may well be much, much higher.

For purposes of this article, we will examine the programs offered by two pharmacy chains (Walgreen’s and CVS), three stores with pharmacies inside (Target, Wal-Mart and Costco) and one discount generic mail service (Xubex). There are many other, similar chains of stores throughout the U.S.A. that probably have such programs, including supermarkets. Depending on where you live, if you can find the website of the store you’re interested in, you probably can find out whether they have such a program themselves. Of course, you could always just call them up and ask.


CVS. The CVS program is called “CVS/pharmacy Health Savings Pass.” You can sign up either online, at the pharmacy or by phone at 888-616-CARE (2273). For a payment of $10.00 per person per year (prices may vary by state), you are able to buy for another $10.00 a 90 days’ supply of any of the generics on their list. The list is by no means comprehensive. As with ALL these programs, there are many generics that are not part of their offering. With CVS, as with all other stores that have similar programs, you have to either get a list of their covered generics at the store or go online and look at their website. The list of the generics CVS offers under this program is available online at:

http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/images/promotions/landingpages/rx/rx08037_health_sav_pass/health_savings_pass_medicationlist.pdf

Just copy that URL, paste it into the address line of your web browser, and hit “enter.” It is also important that you know you may participate in this program regardless of any other prescription insurance you may have, whether Medicare Part D or insurance from a former employer or as part of a pension program.


Walgreen’s. The Walgreen’s program is called the “Prescription Savings Club.” The annual price of membership is $20.00 per person or $35.00 for an entire family. You may sign up online or at the pharmacy. Not by phone. Unlike CVS, you cannot take out membership in this program if you have Medicare Part D, Medicaid or Tricare. The Walgreen’s generic drug list contains (they say) 400 different medications, and one pays $12.00 for a 90 day supply of each medication or $4.00 for a month’s supply. Walgreen’s says that the plan covers a total of 5,000 brand and generic drugs, but you can’t check that because the only way to access coverage information (other than covered generics) is by inserting one drug name at a time into a separate page. Their covered generic drug list is available at:

https://webapp.walgreens.com/MYWCARDWeb/pdf/Value-PricedGenericsList.pdf

Copy that URL, paste it into the address line of your web browser, and hit “enter.”


Target. Target, apparently, has no “plan” or “program.” They simply don’t charge more than $4.00 for a month’s supply, or $10.00 for a 90-day supply, of any of their listed generic drugs, which they say is “more than 300.” So there is, again apparently, no annual fee. The list does contain a few drugs, mostly in the “Women’s Health” section, for which they charge more but still less than standard price. Their website says nothing about whether or not membership in other drug insurance plans matters, but I think it can be assumed that it doesn’t matter. The list is available at
http://sites.target.com/site/en/health/page.jsp?contentId=WCMP04-040589


Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart offer is similar to the Target offer. No annual fee. No reference to any other insurance disqualifying you. Wal-Mart’s list contains, they say, “hundreds” of drugs. You can download their list at: http://www.walmart.com/cp/4-Prescriptions-Program/546834

Their price is the same as Target’s: $4.00 for a month’s supply and $10.00 for a 90-day supply. The prices of specific women’s health prescriptions are higher, as with Target. And charges may vary in certain states.


Costco. The “Costco Member Prescription Program” is what it’s called. Some Costco pharmacies participate in this plan, some don’t. You have to call them to find out. There’s no annual fee. But Costco’s website says that there are reductions on all prescription drugs. And the reductions are different for different drugs. However, it is a program and you do have to “join up” before you can take advantage of these prices. You will not qualify if you are on Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or any employer-related or other private health insurance that covers even only some drugs. You can look at their FAQ by putting this address in your browser: http://www.envisionrx.com/costco/cmpp.aspx


Xubex. Xubex (http://www.xubex.com/), suggested by PC member “impoftsn,” will give you very large discounts on a range of both generics and brand-name meds. There is no cost to join and no monthly fee. You fill out their on-line application form (or they will mail you one if you want) and Xubex will email your confirmation of new account. Once you’re a member, you mail (or fax) in your prescriptions, your payment and any supporting documents that are necessary, your prescriptions being shipped within five to ten days of receipt. They also have a program to help patients pay their co-pays. The medication list for their different programs is available at: https://secure.xubex.com/CompleteProgramList.pdf

Proof of income is NOT required. Automatic refills are available. There is no limit to the number of prescriptions you may order. You may participate in their programs even if you receive Medicare Part D. If you request, they will bill your Medicare Part D insurer.


NeedyMeds. This is a very good, all-inclusive umbrella website and not–for-profit organization that includes access to brand-name discount programs, generic discount programs, discount card programs, state programs, information about free and low-cost clinics and other valuable resources. http://www.needymeds.org/index.shtml


RxOutreach. On their home page they state: (1) “$20 for a 180-day supply for more than 150 medications;” (2) “Same price for any dose or strength;” (3) “More than 400 medications to choose from.” There ARE income limitations. They have no discount card. Their home page is: http://www.rxoutreach.com/Default.aspx


Conclusion.


This is by no means a comprehensive list of large pharmacy chains that offer substantial discounts on generic drugs. In fact, I would be quite surprised if any pharmacy in the U.S.A., even single-store pharmacies, did not feel themselves forced, for competitive reasons, to offer such a program. If you’d prefer to buy your prescriptions at a chain other than the ones listed here, or at a supermarket, or at a stand-alone pharmacy, go online and check their websites very carefully. If they do have a program, you’ll probably find some message about it there, even if relatively hidden. If things differ where you are, please let us know so that we can update this article.


Branded


Here’s where things start to get complicated. Most of the pharmacies don’t deal with discounted brand-name drugs (except maybe Target and Costco). For either free or cut-rate branded prescriptions you have to go either to the pharmaceutical company that manufactures a particular drug or to a group of such companies that have agreed on a common portal for people applying for free or discounted name-brand drugs. Each company has its own standards of financial need. Each company makes its own decisions as to whether or not other available insurance (Medicare D, Medicaid, Tricare, etc.) disqualifies an applicant. Each company makes its own decisions whether or not the medication is shipped to you or to your doctor.

A further complication is that among the larger pharmaceutical manufacturers, a company may have more than one program to get free or cut-rate drugs. For example, Pfizer, one of the biggest if not the biggest, has a total of four programs for people in need. What each person reading this article needs, and what we’re trying to provide, is a straight path to the explanation of each program and the downloadable application forms you will fill out and your doctors will fill out. As well as a discussion of how to find these things on your own because we can’t be exhaustive here.


TPAP. Let’s start with a multiple-manufacturer website, a website set up by the companies themselves to make it easier to apply. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (TPAP). Their home page is: http://www.pparx.org/enThe whole point of TPAP is to permit an applicant to fill out multiple applications to different drug manufacturers at the same time, instead of going to each separate manufacturer’s website and doing each application separately. However, a great number of popular prescription medications are not covered by TPAP because their manufacturers have not joined this group. Remember, TPAP is just a voluntary joint effort on the part of one group of companies.

So after using it, if you have other drugs you need, you would still have to visit other companies’ websites. Personally, I don’t believe it’s worth the effort to go through TPAP. So for our family I’ve gone to each individual manufacturer’s website and taken it from there. If I were doing it over again, I’d probably use RxAssist, which we deal with next. If you do want to use TPAP, it’s reasonably self-explanatory. Their list of state programs is very good and kept up-to-date, so you may want to go there just to see what your state is offering.


RxASSIST
http://www.rxassist.org/ RxAssist, unlike TPAP, will not fill out forms for you. What it does do, however, is provide you with lots of information about each company’s programs, including their URL’s, their requirements, their financial qualifications, etc., as well as permitting you to download application forms from their information pages. RxAssist is run by Volunteers In Health Care (VIH), a non-profit organization the purpose of which is to provide as much national information as possible not only to patients, but to doctors and pharmaceutical companies, in order to help the former to understand and the latter to devise programs of their own.

RxAssist is a very, very valuable resource, well designed, well organized and understandable. You will see the AstraZeneca name on the home page, but this is not an AstraZeneca organization. They’re paying VIH for advertising. I urge you to read the “About Us” section, available from the home page. Their “Resources” section is also well worth a visit.

But what you will use most is their “Search Database” tab. On the first page of the Search Database tab you enter the name of your med, and then see a list of all the different programs through which you can get that med either free or at a discount. To view the details of each program, you click on the name of the drug listed with a program that interests you. You are then taken to a page on which the facts of that program are displayed, together with a link to the company’s website. You can also download a copy of the company’s application form from this same page.


RxHOPE Very similar to RxAssist is RxHope, suggested by PC Member “impoftsn.” Their web address is: https://www.rxhope.com/home.aspx RxHope is a very easy to use website constructed and administered by the Triplefin group of companies, who are specialized in helping pharmaceutical companies set up patient assistance programs. While you can use this site too, your doctor can use it as well to fill out the forms online and apply online for your prescription benefit. There is a separate entry on the home page for doctors to use. You use the patients’ entry on the home page. You can search either by medication name, or by manufacturer, or by the name of a particular patient assistance program (like Pfizer’s Connection to Care). In many cases you can print out the manufacturer’s application form to fill out and give to your doctor. In other cases you must call a telephone number for further information. This site is pleasant to read and easy to use. Again, as in most cases, each manufacturer decides whether or not insurance is a barrier to using the program for their drugs and whether or not there are income limitations.


GOING IT ALONE If, however, you want to go it alone, you simply enter the brand name of your med in your preferred search engine and search. Among the first three or four hits will be the “official” website of your med. You click on that and learn directly from the website the name of the manufacturer. You then explore the website for information about their patient help program. This frequently takes some time, since for whatever reason they play down the fact that they’re offering free or cut-rate meds to qualified people. If they have such a program, you will ultimately find the information. If they don’t offer the information, they may not have a help program. You can check your own research by using the RxAssist Search Database, particularly if you can’t find anything at all on a company’s website.


PHARMA Pharma is the trade group of all the pharmaceutical industry. Here’s their link: http://www.phrma.org/They have a lot of interesting things to say about themselves. Try the article on the home page entitled “In the News: Setting the Record Straight on Consumer Drug Costs.


TOGETHER Rx ACCESS

http://www.togetherrxaccess.com/Tx/jsp/home.jsp
TRA again is a group of manufacturers who have gotten together to offer a free card for which you can apply at this website in order to get 25%-40% discounts on around 300 prescription medications. You present the card to the pharmacy when you drop off your prescription. You can only participate if (1) you are not eligible for Medicare (or if you are, you don’t have it); (2) You meet their income requirements; and (3) You have no prescription drug coverage of any kind. Their website is clear and easily understandable. From their website, you can also connect to another, entitled TogetherONE, through which you can get coupons for all kinds of discounts.


Conclusion:


The wide-angled view of the distribution of prescription drugs in the U.S.A. today shows a series of grudging compromises between the needs of the free market, on the manufacturers’ and retailers’ side, and the needs of so much of the population whose income makes many necessary prescriptions simply unaffordable. It is really, undeniably true that the manufacturers and the retailers are doing a lot on their side to help those in need. The programs you’ve read about above are serious, well thought-out and massive. With the upcoming reforms to Medicare Part D over the next several years, and the benefits to people under 65 from the new health insurance reform measures, we will have gone a long way toward righting the balance between the free market and peoples’ unmet medication needs.

Last edited by Christina86; 09-02-2010 at 09:03 PM..
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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www.rxhope.com is similar to rxassist, in fact that's where I found rxassist, you just type in a drug name & it lists all the assistance programs for that drug. Another one is www.xubex.com this one supplies 90 day supplies of lots of generic meds at REALLY reduced prices. They readily accept Medicare, too! Also have a reduced co-pay for some Brand name meds for people who have insurance.
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for this! Too bad I'm from Canada, but very useful information nonetheless.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:10 PM   #4
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I have been ordering my most expensive, non-generic drugs like Diovan, Seroquel, Synthroid and even generic Coreg, which CVS charges almost 50.00 per month and am getting it from Canada. I can get 3 months worth of generic Coreg for about what 1 month costs at the CVS.

I have had no trouble at all with the drugs I get from Canada. They are all the best quality medicines and I could have saved money, even when I had an insurance plan, of which I do not. I also find medicare part D to be pretty expensive, also. I can pay less by getting meds from Canada.

Just thought I'd let you know about this.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:21 AM   #5
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i've read that canada does not screen their drug companies products/quality control. not sure how accurate this info is but my doc discouraged me from this.
i sure would save a butt load of money in the U.S. tho if i could use the programs listed. regretably my income doesn't allow me to take advantage of assistance thru the article thread by ygrec. one must have low income guidlines. even tho my med costs make me poor those companies will not take this into account to make me eligible. for me it's a catch 22.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madisgram View Post
i've read that canada does not screen their drug companies products/quality control. not sure how accurate this info is but my doc discouraged me from this. i sure would save a butt load of money in the U.S. tho if i could use the programs listed. regretably my income doesn't allow me to take advantage of assistance thru the article thread by ygrec. one must have low income guidlines. even tho my med costs make me poor those companies will not take this into account to make me eligible. for me it's a catch 22.
Madisgram: Are you SURE that all those programs are means-tested? I had a different impression as to some of them. If you email me a list of your meds I'd be happy to snoop around and check it out. Take care!
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ygrec23 View Post
Madisgram: Are you SURE that all those programs are means-tested? I had a different impression as to some of them. If you email me a list of your meds I'd be happy to snoop around and check it out. Take care!
ygrec, i'd contacted everyone known to man to get help. my income shut me out even tho i told them it's my med costs that stifle my living without worrying all the time. but i will try again but have little hope in my case. i had even contacted the pharma companies.
to give u an example my med deduction on my irs tax form last year was $ 15,000. so it's obvious why my real income goes mostly for medical costs.
thanks for offering to give me help. if i have any luck trying this again or not i'll let you know. most kind of you to offer to help me. just checked the sites, none offer me anything more than a coupon for filling one prescription-nominal savings. i have stopped taking some meds cause i can't afford them. these are vital meds for my many conditions.
your thread was most helpful i'm sure to many here. just in that bad catch 22, gyrec.

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Old 03-13-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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Madisgram: Have you tried Xubex.com? I certainly wouldn't give up until I'd checked them out. Take care!

Quote:
Originally Posted by madisgram View Post
ygrec, i'd contacted everyone known to man to get help. my income shut me out even tho i told them it's my med costs that stifle my living without worrying all the time. but i will try again but have little hope in my case. i had even contacted the pharma companies.
to give u an example my med deduction on my irs tax form last year was $ 15,000. so it's obvious why my real income goes mostly for medical costs.
thanks for offering to give me help. if i have any luck trying this again or not i'll let you know. most kind of you to offer to help me. just checked the sites, none offer me anything more than a coupon for filling one prescription-nominal savings. i have stopped taking some meds cause i can't afford them. these are vital meds for my many conditions.
your thread was most helpful i'm sure to many here. just in that bad catch 22, gyrec.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:45 PM   #9
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http://psychcentral.com/blog/archive...discount-card/

I think this should be included. It's an awesome service from PC itself!

I know it shows up on the insurance and finance forum, but never noticed it until I looked for it.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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NEVER PAY FOR HELP WITH THE FINDING HELP OR WITH HELP FILLING OUT THE APPLICATIONS

Any place that requires money for this is a SCAM....& if they tell you that they will help with the appeal process....that's a SCAM also...because the drug companies have a set $ amount that they will or WILL NOT qualify you by & there is no appeal process nor lawyer in the world that will get them to change that line they draw.

I will tell you if your income is to high to qualify...the only thing you can change then is the number in your household (especially if you are a single person).

Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance refuses to even look at medical necessity or financial hardship even though their letter of denial says they will.....they don't & there is NO WAY TO FORCE THEM TO DO IT.

Read this BBB notice regarding Bureau of Prescription Health DBT Free Medicine
BBB Alert: Bureau Of Prescription Health, Free Medicine Foundation Charge For 'Free' Services - BBB News Center It only talks about this scam, but warns you to look out for any other place that charges you for assistance with finding or filling out your patient assistance forms.

I can tell you from personal experience by what I am going through right now....there are many government agencies that do that same thing for NOTHING usually called something like (your state) Perscription Drug Assistance Program.....that is what they are set up to do.....also, Go directly to the drug company & they usually have the patient assistance program except for some generics like the Fentynal patches I'm on...only the name brand has a patient assistance program

ALSO.......BEWARE:
Medicare will not allow you to get into a part D drug coverage except during the open enrollment period which starts October 15 each year & runs through I think the end of the year but doesn't start covering until January 1. This is cast in concrete if your patient assistance program denies you & it's not a government program.....& they WILL NOT TAKE MEDICAL NECESSITY NOR FINANCIAL HARDSHIP INTO CONSIDERATION.

The whole thing is pretty screwed IMO after all the struggles & the doors that have been slammed in my face with a sweet smile saying..."gee, I'm sorry we can't help you"

The only solution at times is figuring out how to increase the number in your household without increasing the income level so high that you no longer qualify again.....if the other person has any income they will add it to your income level & it can possibly count against you when trying to appeal or qualify.

Best wishes after all the stress I have gone through these last 2 weeks....it definitely causes one's migraines to go out of control & probably my blood pressure also....not to say anything about my depression & anxiety.....however remember that paying a company to handle the aggravations for you doesn't help because in reality, they aren't able to do anything more than you can & then you add the aggravation of having been scammed & not being able to get your money back.....luckily I knew that before I got involved....but thought it important to warn everyone here.
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