Have you ever been concerned about the cost of a prescription (maybe to the point where you don’t buy a medication you need), but unsure how to bring it up with your doctor? You’re not alone.
About 28% of prescriptions are abandoned at the pharmacy and never filled—and that costs all Americans more. Non-adherence (not taking medications as prescribed) cost the US healthcare system $290 billion in 2014 alone. Studies have shown that cost is the biggest reason behind non-adherence.
The good news: your doctor wants to help too. According to a 2005 survey from the Archives of Internal Medicine, 92% of primary care doctors and cardiologists said that they should consider patients’ costs when writing prescriptions, but only about 1/3 actually do. This hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years—research GoodRx conducted with the California Healthcare Foundation in 2014 showed that doctors still want to discuss patients’ prescription costs but feel that they don’t have access to medication prices.
Whether you’re a taking medications or prescribing them, tools like GoodRx can provide a good starting place for a conversation about prescription costs.
What can I do about prescription costs as a patient?
Know that your doctor is on your side when it comes to helping you save, but you can also take an active role in reducing your costs. A few recommendations:
- Shop around. Another pharmacy might be less expensive—or you may find a GoodRx discount or manufacturer coupon that can get you a lower price than your co-pay.
- Fill generic whenever possible. Insured or not, generics are significantly less expensive than brands, and are required by the FDA to be identical to brand name drugs in form and strength, safety, route of administration, quality, effectiveness, and intended use.
- Fill a 90-day supply. If you’re taking a medication for a chronic condition, filling more at one time can help keep your costs down, whether you’re filling at a retail pharmacy or through your insurance’s mail order service.
- Finally, start a conversation with your doctor or pharmacist. If you’re having trouble affording your prescription, let your health care provider know so you can work together to find an alternative that works for you.
What can I do as a doctor or other health care provider?
Start a conversation about cost. If you want help, GoodRx has a few resources specifically for doctors:
GoodRx now offers an accredited CME (Continuing Medical Education) course for physicians and other health care professionals that can help with:
- Recognizing how prescription costs impact adherence
- Initiating a discussion of prescription costs and adherence with patients
- Integrating the use of tools into practice that will show patients prescription cost and how to reduce such cost, thereby increasing adherence
You can also use the GoodRx for Doctors mobile app to research prices, keep a list of your most commonly prescribed medications, and instantly share discounts with patients.