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New Ways to Shop for Drugs

October 30, 2016
Plain English Version
 Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Prescription drugs save lives. They are often expensive. Most Americans have health insurance. Still, the out-of-pocket cost of the drugs may be too much for many people.

One problem is that it is hard to know the cost of a drug before you buy it. The druggist has to find out what health insurance will cover. Then he tells the customer how much the customer has to pay.

This process makes it difficult for the consumer to shop for the lowest price.

Drugs may be brand names like Lipitor, which lowers cholesterol. Generic drugs, which do the same thing, are cheaper. Doctors usually prescribe the generic drug.

Still, how do you find a place that sells the drug for the lowest cost?

Help is on the way.

One company, GoodRx, collects drug prices at pharmacies around the country. It also connects consumers to coupons to help them pay for drugs.

Another company, Blink Health, takes the process a step further. It allows customers to pay for their drugs online. They then can pick up their drugs at most pharmacies.

An expert said, “This is the first time consumers know what the price of the item is before they get to the register.”

The system works best for generic drugs. Consumer advocates think the websites are great for consumers. Drug prices may now be easy to find.

Source: The New York Times February 9, 2016

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