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what is the pharmacy hinting?
Old 12-24-2021, 10:18 PM   #1
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what is the pharmacy hinting?

When I pick up an rx at the pharmacy, if the price is over $50 or so, the clerk generally points to it and whispers, "Oh! Is the price OK on this one?" Since this has now happened a few times, I'm thinking they are hinting something, like maybe I'm supposed to flinch at the price and they'll reduce it? Or, are they hinting there's a Goodrx coupon? Are they not allowed to just come out and say so unless the patient requests it? I've tried a generic reply like, "Wow, yes, that is expensive!" but that does not change the price. It feels like there's some knowledge I'm missing that could help here.
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Old 12-24-2021, 10:23 PM   #2
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Try a $600 med. The poor pharmacist looked at me like, this guy is going to blow his stack at me.
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Old 12-24-2021, 10:28 PM   #3
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I don't think it is too much. Each time I refill my regular generic meds (5 of them) I pay about $250, every 3 months. My husband has a medicine which he pays $450 per refill, with his plan kicking in another $1450.

I just started a drug last month with my insurance paying $1450, and my share of cost at $2450 per month. The drug maker kicks in a $0 co-pay card that is valid for 12 months. I feel sorry for my insurance company. I figure when I run out of $0 co-pay my doctor will need to find me another drug.
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Old 12-24-2021, 11:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
When I pick up an rx at the pharmacy, if the price is over $50 or so, the clerk generally points to it and whispers, "Oh! Is the price OK on this one?" Since this has now happened a few times, I'm thinking they are hinting something, like maybe I'm supposed to flinch at the price and they'll reduce it? Or, are they hinting there's a Goodrx coupon? Are they not allowed to just come out and say so unless the patient requests it? I've tried a generic reply like, "Wow, yes, that is expensive!" but that does not change the price. It feels like there's some knowledge I'm missing that could help here.
I don't have an answer for you, but yeah, it sure would sound to me that there is some other option! I wonder if you replied, "yeah, it is pretty high, what can I do?", quietly, in reply. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If the person then whispers, "look up GoodRx" or something like that, well then you'll know.
If you eventually find out, I am interested in what it was.
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Old 12-25-2021, 12:02 AM   #5
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At my pharmacy, once you pay and they push it across the counter, there are not returns-it's yours.

I think they are doing you a favor by confirming your willingness to pay the price before finalizing the transaction.
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Old 12-25-2021, 12:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
When I pick up an rx at the pharmacy, if the price is over $50 or so, the clerk generally points to it and whispers, "Oh! Is the price OK on this one?" Since this has now happened a few times, I'm thinking they are hinting something, like maybe I'm supposed to flinch at the price and they'll reduce it? Or, are they hinting there's a Goodrx coupon? Are they not allowed to just come out and say so unless the patient requests it? I've tried a generic reply like, "Wow, yes, that is expensive!" but that does not change the price. It feels like there's some knowledge I'm missing that could help here.
I was totally Shocked when told that pharmacists were not allowed to tell you a cheaper way to buy the drug.
I literally said that is BS to my relative..
After some research, I had to eat crow, as it's true here.
Pharmacists are restricted by agreements with the drug supplier that they cannot assist customers to pay less, unless requested by the customer.

You have to say to the pharmacist, "Is there a cheaper way to buy this drug?" and then because the customer requested it, they are allowed to tell you.

Let us know how it works out, and by the way you should look up on goodRx.com to see the price for your drug, to know if you are getting a fair deal, and maybe try the coupon next time ?
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Old 12-25-2021, 02:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by FlaGator View Post
At my pharmacy, once you pay and they push it across the counter, there are not returns-it's yours.

I think they are doing you a favor by confirming your willingness to pay the price before finalizing the transaction.
Yes, this is what I was told. At first, I thought maybe the clerk thought I was homeless or worse. I'm still not sure whether it's store policy or industry wide policy to confirm that the customer is willing to pay when an expensive drug is being picked up. Neither do I know what the dividing line is for "expensive." I've had $400 co-pays and was appreciative that the pharmacy clerk asked. YMMV
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Old 12-25-2021, 02:32 AM   #8
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At my pharmacy, once you pay and they push it across the counter, there are not returns-it's yours.

I think they are doing you a favor by confirming your willingness to pay the price before finalizing the transaction.
This. Some folks would say no its not ok keep it. And clerk probs asks quietly to avoid embarrassing folks. I bet they ask every customer
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Old 12-25-2021, 04:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I was totally Shocked when told that pharmacists were not allowed to tell you a cheaper way to buy the drug.
I literally said that is BS to my relative..
After some research, I had to eat crow, as it's true here.
Pharmacists are restricted by agreements with the drug supplier that they cannot assist customers to pay less, unless requested by the customer.

You have to say to the pharmacist, "Is there a cheaper way to buy this drug?" and then because the customer requested it, they are allowed to tell you.

Let us know how it works out, and by the way you should look up on goodRx.com to see the price for your drug, to know if you are getting a fair deal, and maybe try the coupon next time ?
I don’t think that is true anymore.

Pharmacist gag orders were made illegal in 2018. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-su...armacists.html
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:17 AM   #10
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I wonder if you replied, "yeah, it is pretty high, what can I do?", quietly, in reply. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
^ This.

Unless the prescription I pick up is only a few dollars under my "El Cheapo" Part D insurance, I always ask the pharmacist if GoodRX is less. They (HEB) have the ability to look up 3rd party discounts on their system and give me the choice of which price I want to pay.

Oh, and as Audrey1 points out, I see no reason whatsoever to do this quietly and would not - even if I wasn't hearing impaired!
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:40 AM   #11
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When "some" of these scripts start getting really expensive, (I'm talking 1000's of dollars per fill) there seems to be a lot of assistance/discount programs available to the patient regardless of their ability to pay. Often getting the OOP cost down to zero... In the cases I'm aware of, I know the insurance company is paying their negotiated/discounted rates but then drug manufacture or some "foundation" picks up the rest. Not sure what's going on here.
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:40 AM   #12
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My wife has had two medications for which the manufacture had a program under which she was able to reduce the co-pay from hundreds of dollars to $10 or $20. I also had one once which was just a few bucks using GoodRx but hundreds using my insurance.

Always ask. Ask the doctor, ask the doctor's office staff, ask the pharmacist, ask the manufacturer. We've found lots of these people are happy to help. Nobody benefits when the patient stops taking, or never takes, a needed medication because of cost.
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:50 AM   #13
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And then there is the doughnut hole. In January DW's Xeralto is $39/mo. Late in the year it is $130.
I get hr a 3 mo supply in November, so the refill is in January.
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Old 12-25-2021, 09:06 AM   #14
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Best response to an ambiguous question is “why do you ask?”
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Old 12-25-2021, 09:09 AM   #15
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Always a good idea to price your drugs on Goodrx.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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Old 12-25-2021, 09:53 AM   #16
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Definitely ask before you touch the bag, once you accept it, its yours. At least that is the way our previous pharmacy worked.
There are many GoodRx discounts and also drug manufacturer discounts, and the pharmacist is the one who is aware (or should be) of possible lower costs.
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Old 12-25-2021, 10:32 AM   #17
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I have an asthma drug that my Part D plan doesnít cover and costs over $900/90 days. GoodRx doesnít bring the price down, but SingleCare (similar to GoodRx) brings the cost down to $221/90days. My point is there are several prescription discount programs out there and itís worth checking them all.
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Old 12-25-2021, 10:58 AM   #18
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Federal rules often required you the customer to ask the pharmacist about lower priced options. Then the pharmacist can talk to you about that. But, like police officers avoiding entrapment, the idea has to come from you.

https://khn.org/news/no-more-secrets...n-drug-prices/
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For years, most pharmacists couldn’t give customers even a clue about an easy way to save money on prescription drugs. But the restraints are coming off.
When the cash price for a prescription is less than what you would pay using your insurance plan, pharmacists will no longer have to keep that a secret.
President Donald Trump was scheduled to sign two bills Wednesday that ban “gag order” clauses in contracts between pharmacies and insurance companies or pharmacy benefit managers — those firms that negotiate prices for employers and insurers with drugstores and drugmakers. Such provisions prohibit pharmacists from telling customers when they can save money by paying the pharmacy’s lower cash price instead of the price negotiated by their insurance plan.
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Old 12-25-2021, 11:25 AM   #19
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Good info, all, thanks. Next time I'll ask if there's a cheaper way. One concern I have is by using a cheaper way, if one exists, it won't count against an annual deductible and similar patient spending levels. I'll have to study what those levels are for my insurance. Probably then I'll have to guess what I'll spend on prescriptions during 2022 to decide which approach will minimize my total cost for the year.
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Old 12-25-2021, 11:42 AM   #20
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One concern I have is by using a cheaper way, if one exists, it won't count against an annual deductible and similar patient spending levels. I'll have to study what those levels are for my insurance. Probably then I'll have to guess what I'll spend on prescriptions during 2022 to decide which approach will minimize my total cost for the year.
Yes, this is a potential downside to using a discount service like GoodRX. However, it really isn't a problem for those who don't consume a lot of prescription drugs.
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