Several new options for prescription drug savings

Yesterday within the space of a couple of hours I had couple of different prescription drug savings web sites come to my attention, all through different channels. I took this to mean the universe wanted my next blog post to be about saving money online on prescription drug costs, so here goes.

First up is a site called BidRx. The idea is pretty simple, and reminds me a lot of Medibid. Patients register on the site, then submit information on the prescription drugs they need – name, dose, quantity, and other basic information. They can determine what distance they are willing to travel to pick up their medicines, and whether or not they would like a mail-order option, and also set a time limit on how long they will accept bids.

After entering the information, patients simply hit submit and wait for pharmacies to bid on providing the drug. All they need to do then is review the bids, select the best value, accept the bid, and then print out what is called a reservation and take it to the pharmacy to buy the medicine. 

BidRx appears to have been around a while, since at least 2006 based on the news coverage they’ve posted on their site. Here’s an excerpt from a 2010 news article:

BidRx: Pharmacies bid for your business online

A Wisconsin based company BidRx will allow you to get the benefit of getting drug companies and pharmacies bid for your business. You register to a secure Internet website, specify the medication that you want so drug companies and pharmacies will bid on electronically to give you the lowest price on your prescription.

“We give consumers a choice” Tom Kellenberger a BidRx official said it on the phone today, “we show them the generic medications that they can get and it is up to the consumer to go back to his doctor and see if it works for them” he continued on to explain that the company lets consumers see different prices on different brand names and generics so they can choose how much they can save.

The company has around 60,000 members nationwide so far, and is continuing to grow as more people learn of its existence…

One of the company’s press releases states… that it is common to see a savings of 50% or more in prescriptions, consumers can also call and contact to get assistance in login and placing an order if they have limited computer usage skills.

One of the interesting features about the site is that it does provide information on alternative drugs that treat the same condition, meaning that patients who see a less expensive alternative can go back to their doctor to ask if it can be used instead.

 BidRx appears to have an affiliate company that looks like its marketing arm, Bid for My Meds. The site offers opportunities for prescribers and individuals who want to work with BidRx. It’s a little confusing actually, because some of the language suggests that there is a free trial period for using BidRx, while the BidRx site itself says it’s a free service. I’ll contact the company and see what the deal is.

The other web site I found offers a couple of things for people looking to cut their prescription drug costs. RxCut is focused on people with insurance, at least that’s the impression I got from the site, but there’s no reason it can’t be used by the uninsured as well. RxCut offers a free prescription drug discount card, and people are encouraged to use that first when filling a prescription to see if the discounted price is less than the co-pay they would otherwise pay if they used their insurance to pay for the medicines (this goes back to the post I wrote a while back noting that pretending to be uninsured can often get you better prices for health care).

RxCut also has a search function for finding the lowest-cost prescription drug in your neighborhood. Another feature it offers is a coupon-search function, which allows patients to see if the manufacturer offers a coupon that might reduce the cost of the drug even further.

There’s another extremely helpful service provided by RxCut, which is its discount labs program, called RxCut Labs. Just as the ‘list’ price for prescription drugs are often wildly inflated, the same goes for lab services. By using RxCut Labs or another cash-friendly lab service, self-pay patients can save big on these vital health care services.  For example, a lipid profile which can typically cost about $93 (according to the RxCut Labs site) can be obtained through their site for $29.

There are a number of other companies and web sites providing similar services and similarly impressive savings, and I’d suggest checking all of them out (or at least as many of them are feasible) before using any of them. This is actually one of the key benefits of being a self-pay patient, the ability to shop and compare and decide which provider is the best fit for you. Might as well take advantage of that freedom!

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4 Responses to Several new options for prescription drug savings

  1. marilyn mitchell says:

    Interesting blog. RxCut can be used by everyone; if they have insurance they just present both cards and ask for the cheapest price. RxCut gives discounts on labs as you mentioned – but also gives 50% off screens (CT, MRI, etc.). The consumer can access all that from the links on the site.

    Here’s a couple of actual savings in December: I’m choosing a couple of well-known names from the list — persons using card are nation-wide.

    Walmart: Letrozole 2.5 mg. tab generic 90 day supply retail: $848.72 using RxCut card: $64.82 savings: $773.90 or 92.17% savings!

    Walgreens Clopidogrel 75 mg. tab generic 30 day $261.18 RxCut: $13.16 Savings:
    $248.02 or 94.96%! serious savings! Of course, not all are like this, but more than 86% of the time they’ll save with this card — it depends what the PBM’s negotiated for
    the script.
    ———————————————
    On the subject of PBM’s – here’s a new alternative (from the owners of the RXCut card)
    PBARX.com a way for self-insured organizations to save substantially on their script side. Has to be 300+ employees.

    I can put you in touch with the people for this company for more details if you desire.
    A disruptive, transparent model is now available. Finally, a consumer-focused company.
    MMitchell 202.549.0743

  2. Hey Sean,
    I just got turned onto this blog yesterday by Rick Willard. Saturday morning with time on my hands so I thought I would check it out. Way cool as the kids might say.

    As for BidRx – I have been using it personally and for my group clients for years. It works amazingly well. The auction process has saved me hundreds of dollars on generics over the previous 6 years. Easy to use.

    Dick Matthews

  3. Pingback: Another way to save on prescription drugs – buy ‘over the counter’ meds |

  4. So glad a blog like yours exist! As a physician and a patient myself, I believe in bringing reasonable costs for patients.
    I am not sure if you are aware that some Direct Primary Care offices also offered generic meds to patients, dispensed at their practices, at wholesale cost, i.e. Lisinopril 100 tabs for $3.00, etc., s well as Labs all included (routine) in their monthly fee. In my practice I will be offering these (a routine lab cost of $400 included in patients’ well visit, and all other non routine labs at wholesale cost (eg: Lupus test for only $7).
    Therefore when considering a DPC it is important to find out what services will be included in the retainer.
    I will certainly be posting links you have provided for people at large to access these benefits, regardless whether they become our patients or not.
    Thanks again,
    Maribel Aviles, M.D.

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