Prices recently increased on more than 250 drugs, with an average jump of 6.3%, according to an analysis from Rx Savings Solutions. That's down from last year; however, prescription drugs remain one of the highest out-of-pocket medical costs for many consumers. These increases have occurred despite several Trump administration initiatives designed to lower prescription drug costs.
It’s not surprising that more than 90% of American voters support regulating drug prices, as individuals spent an estimated $535 billion on prescription drugs last year, an increase of 50% since 2010. Drug costs continue to outpace the rate of inflation or wage growth, which is further complicating matters for individuals throughout the country.
While political gridlock is the new normal in our nation’s capital, reducing the cost of medicine is one of the few goals President Trump and the Democrats have named as a top priority for 2019. On top of Trump administration’s recent initiatives, House Democrats have launched an investigation into the rising prices of popular drugs to treat arthritis, cholesterol, diabetes and other ailments.
Many employees and individuals alike may feel powerless against the rising drug prices; however, the following ideas may result in significant savings:
- Go generic. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients as brand-name medications, but generics are substantially less expensive. Always ask your doctor if a generic is available.
- Try the big-box stores. Many pharmacies in grocery stores and retail chains offer hundreds of generic medications at reduced costs. Don’t be discouraged if your medication isn’t available at your preferred store – different retail chains have different lists. Make sure to shop all your available options.
- Seek and apply for assistance. There are many kinds of prescription assistance programs, offered by state and local governments, Medicare and nonprofit groups.
- Shop, shop, shop. Retail prices for prescription medications can vary. Some pharmacies buy directly from drug makers and others use a middleman. Try calling the pharmacies in your area to compare prices or use an app to do the work for you, such as GoodRx.
For more information on how to help individuals and employees lower their drug costs, or to discuss the latest plan design options to lower overall group prices, please contact your Bukaty benefits consultant at 913.945.0440.