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The Price is Right, Right?

Filed in Uncategorized — January 2, 2020

The cost of prescription medications is, without a doubt, the number one frustration for patients and pharmacists. It is quite sad that our country is to the point where drug manufacturers can list medications for thousands of dollars. It also should not be possible for insurance companies to so easily pass that cost to the consumer via high deductible plans and corrupt formulary processes. We think it is time that our community had a more transparent experience while purchasing medication. Front Range Pharmacy is here to help you track your dollar, figure out if you are being taken advantage of, and get you the fair price you deserve. 

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High price tags on medication definitely begin at the source – the manufacturer. Your healthcare team cannot do much about a greedy pharmaceutical company listing life saving medications at staggering prices and then inflating those prices each year. There are some medications that are expensive for your pharmacy to buy, expensive for your insurance to cover, and expensive for you to take home. Despite the gloomy scenario above, we are here to tell you that you can still spend less at the prescription counter. Working at a large chain pharmacy, we found ourselves trapped in a system that simply wasn’t designed to assist patients in achieving healthcare goals at a price they can afford. Even at the management level, it was near impossible to catch insurance companies taking advantage of our patients because so much of the transaction is masked. Exploring other saving options was time consuming and not taken into account when staffing these pharmacies. At Front Range, we have a view of the entire picture, understand when patients are falling victim to price gauging, and always have the time to troubleshoot the cost of your medications. Your health could cost you less – to better explain, follow us through a scenario that pharmacists see everyday:

A young man leaves his physician with a new diagnosis, hypothyroidism, and his doctor has sent over a prescription for a common generic drug. The man approaches the counter to pay for his medication and is charged $28.70 for a 30 day supply of levothyroxine. He leaves with his prescription and a good amount of frustration, after all, he was told this medication would be “cheap”.

This type of transaction happens all day long at large pharmacies – people leave without questioning the total and believe “it is what it is”. The pharmacy team may assure you that the total due is what your insurance quoted, but is that price the best price? How would the pharmacist be able to tell? At large chains the actual drug cost and insurance claim is hidden to the pharmacy team, so it would be impossible to know. Behind the scenes, the pharmacy collected $8.70 for the cost of the drug as well as a small dispensing fee, while the insurance company collected almost $20 in extra money. Although the patient receives a document at checkout stating what his insurance “saved” him, it is a crude and outdated estimate based on extremely inflated figures. At Front Range, our pharmacists have access to exactly what the drug costs, our contracted reimbursement rate, and any extra money your insurance company is “clawing back” from your copay- all in real time. In this case, it would be easy for our team to cut out the insurance completely and deliver a fair cash price of $12.00. The gentleman will save over $200 per year just on this one prescription drug and a small, locally owned business made a fair profit. This is the strength of independent pharmacy. 

Although these needless insurance “clawbacks” are probably the most common source of patient overspending, there are so many more. Sometimes there are cheaper therapeutic alternatives that you qualify for or maybe the drug can be obtained for a cheaper price from another wholesaler. Is there a manufacturer assistance program for you to sign up with? Perhaps we can work with your doctor to suggest lifestyle changes instead of immediately starting a medication? These are just some possible opportunities for savings and Front Range Pharmacy wants to make sure that you are aware and have access to each of them.

We are not writing this to say that pharmacists in other places don’t care about the cost of your medications. We know that, given the opportunity, every pharmacist would choose to make your medications more affordable – large corporations just do not empower their pharmacists in this way. Front Range Pharmacy exists to step into these gaps. We want you to achieve the health you want and not go broke doing it. We might not be able to save you money on all prescriptions, but we will enjoy delivering a transparent outcome every single time. We will always let you know when your insurance company is being a little greedy. Our pricing for cash transactions is updated every day and we plan to be as competitive as we can. Most importantly, our team will make your healthcare cost a priority and take the time to explore all available options in getting you your medication. We admit it feels odd writing these blogs and not being open to the public yet, but we are hoping to begin the relationship with our community now. We hope this week that you leave with more assurance that Front Range Pharmacy will put you first. You are going to love your local pharmacy.