Commentary on “How to Save on Prescription Drugs"

In response to a recent Real Simple Magazine article (click here to read the article) touting mail order prescription services as a way to save patients money we posted the following comment:

To the Editor:

Patients hoping to restrain drug costs should consult their community pharmacists, who see every day how families struggle to pay for essential medicines. They may be able to make recommendations to save patients money, such as increasing the appropriate use of generic medications, while ensuring they use their medications as safely and effectively as possible.

Mail-order almost never delivers the savings its promoters advertise. For example, they are run by pharmacy benefit managers (or PBMs) which have been known to switch patients from cheaper generics to brand-name drugs to boost their windfall profits—while driving up insurance premiums. In addition, patients routinely complain of lengthy waits for their medicine and poor service.

It's been estimated that $290 billion is spent annually on hospital, physician and other treatments for inappropriate medication use. Community pharmacists can do much more to bring those costs down than envelopes and 1-800 numbers.

Support your community and save money. Visit your local community pharmacist to guard against drug interaction, receive personal care and specialty services in your hometown.

Kathleen Jaeger
Executive Vice President and CEO
National Community Pharmacists Association

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