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Pharmacy Outreach Program University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy 1-800-215-9001 www.uri/edu/pharmacy/outreach Updated May 2011


Prescription drug costs are continuing to rise

◦ In 2009 alone over 3.6 billion prescriptions were filled ◦ Drug costs were up to $264.5 billion

People aged 65 and older consume more prescription and over the counter medications than any other age group ◦ This population is only going to get larger as our population continues to age

Over 40 million people lack prescription coverage to help off set the cost of medications


Hundreds of millions to billions of dollars go into research and development of drugs

◦ Most drugs fail to be approved and their costs must be offset by approved drugs ◦ Clinical trials are also costly and paid for by the manufacturer

Advertising accounts for up to ¼ of drug costs ◦ Both direct to consumer and advertising to healthcare professionals

Drugs in low demand tend to cost more money


Contacting insurance companies to find out what drugs are on formulary can lead to lower copays ◦ If patients bring a formulary list to their doctor, it will be easier to get a lower cost drug from the start

Although not as common anymore, physicians often have samples ◦ Some practitioners will set these aside for patients more in need

Patients can ask their doctor for a generic medication

◦ More and more medications are becoming generic ◦ Generic medications are FDA approved and just as effective as their brand-name parent drugs


If a patient has prescription coverage, they can look into mail order

◦ Mail order programs often times allow a 3 month supply for a one month copay for maintenance meds ◦ Convenient for some, but can take 2-3 weeks for fills to arrive ◦ Patient must be sure to tell pharmacist what prescriptions they get through mail order 

Patients can ask their doctor or pharmacist for a discount coupon ◦ Drug company representatives often leave them and can be


Insured patients having difficulty affording their medications have a number of options

Manufacturer websites offer many discount plans for their branded medications ◦ http://www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com/pages/find/findall.aspx

◦ http://www.astrazeneca-us.com/help-affording-your-medicines  Like many plans, these are usually income based 

AAA! ◦ AAA offers discounts on most medications (10-20%) which is useful for when medications aren’t covered (great for pets too!)


Medicare Part D Changes ◦ 50% of Donut Hole costs on brand name medications will be covered by the manufacturers starting this year ◦ While the patient only pays 50%, 100% of it is applied to Donut Hole ◦ Law makers are hoping to eliminate the Donut Hole all together

RIPAE ◦ Helps patients with the cost of many maintenance drugs based on income ◦ Helps with Donut Hole costs


Walmart® Pharmacies offer $4 prescription drug program on select generic medications ◦ $4 for 30 days ◦ No sign up fee required and you can register online or in the pharmacy

Target® Pharmacy offers similar plan ◦ $4 for 30 days, $10 for 90 days

Rite Aid® offers a prescription discount card for both brands and generics ◦ $8.99 for one month and 15.99 for 3 months on 500 generic drugs ◦ 20% off cost of other generic drugs ◦ 15% percent off cost of brand name medications


CVS offers a Health Savings Pass ◦ $11.99 on 90 days supplies of over 400 generic drugs ◦ 10% off CVS Minute Clinic visits and flu shots ◦ Yearly fee of $15 per person

Walgreens has a Prescription Saving Club ◦ $12 for 90 days of selected generic medications ◦ Discounts on flu shots plus over 7500 additional medications ◦ Yearly fee of $20 for a single person or $35 for a family


Advise AGAINST using them

Almost always illegal!

You never know what you will get ◦ Sometimes the medications are not FDA approved ◦ Some products are simply placebos that will do nothing ◦ Some products are contaminated or mislabled

If something goes wrong, there is usually no legal recourse


Rx Assist is a web based resource center for patients in Rhode Island and across the nation Patients can gain access to discount programs offered by: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦

Pharmaceutical companies Retail pharmacies State specific prescription programs Medicare Part D plan comparisons

An Rx Assist prescription discount card can also be obtained and used at most pharmacies Geared towards older and less educated patients

 Instant communication with a live operator via telephone or instant message


Pparx.org based off the RxforRI.org pilot program

More comprehensive with a larger database

Uses same criteria as Rx for RI to determine best available plans

Applications for plans available directly through pparx.org website


Many veterans are not aware of the benefits they are entitled to

Often times eligibility is based solely on past active military service in the US armed forces ◦ Patients do NOT have to have served in combat

Once eligible and enrolled, patients can receive care at any VA medical center in the country

VA healthcare is for any ailment, not just service-related illness or injury

Eligibility can be found online or at any Veterans Affairs office

Some patients also qualify for VA sponsored prescription coverage (Tricare)


Provides prescription and medical coverage to low income families ◦ Plans available for just children or entire families

Patients are assigned to a primary care provider (PCP) ◦ Similar to HMO plan

No cost for covered prescriptions and certain OTC products

Up to 90 day supply available for certain maintenance medications


Offers hundreds of manufacturer coupons for both prescription and over the counter medications

Free service and many times little personal information needed for coupons

Site organized by medication name, disease state and manufacturer

Membership in a buying group also offered ◦ Offers up to 75% savings on certain generics ◦ Up to 50% saving on brand medications ◦ CANNOT be used with any other prescription coverage


Often times rare disorders have low demand medications at very high prices

NORD, in conjunction with pharmaceutical companies, offers assistance to patients having trouble affording medication for their rare disorders

Also helps patients with registering for clinical trials for new medications


Patients can be directed to The Point to help register for a variety of benefits ◦ Medical and dental ◦ Prescription ◦ Housing and food ◦ At home care for the elderly or disabled

Set up to provide aid to patients who are elderly or disabled

Portal site that can direct providers or patients to the appropriate resource for a specific problem


Visit senior centers, senior housing and public

gatherings to offer seminars on topics related to senior care 

Brown bag and other seminars allow us to interact

with patients and help them with any concerns they may have 

Toll free number can called for assistance on: ◦ Brand and generic drugs ◦ Drug formularies ◦ Therapeutic substitutions ◦ 1-800-215-9001


Pharmacy Outreach Program URI College of Pharmacy 1-800-215-9001 www.uri.edu/pharmacy/outreach


Cost Assistance for Prescription Medications