- Researching Your Prescription Costs

Researching your prescription costs may help you plan your medical spending. Do you want to know prices for a specific medication and why does it cost so much?

As patients pay more for their prescription drugs whether it's through higher insurance co-pays or shouldering the full costs: many people decide to opt out of taking the drugs altogether. But there are safer ways to cut costs than skimping on, or skipping, the medicines you need. When insured persons purchase covered drugs, they pay only a portion of their cost, a fixed amount that constitutes the first portion of the costs that insured persons must pay when obtaining insured drugs. Although you'll only pay 45% of the price for the brand-name drug, 95% of the price what you pay plus the 50% manufacturer discount payment will count as out-of-pocket costs which will help you get out of the coverage gap. The high cost of new drugs has prompted patients, lawmakers, insurers and physicians to question the pricing tactics of drug companies. Insurers often place into the higher tiers specialty drugs, which have no standard industry definition, but are generally the most expensive products. Many do not have lower cost alternatives.

Drug executives often say prices reflect the fact that companies lay out an average of $2.6 billion and spend 10 to 15 years to bring a single drug to market. But if a drug's price did reflect costs, that price should be close to the variable cost of production, or the expense that goes into making the next bottle of pills, rather than a company's entire research budget. To determine the highest possible list price for a new drug, companies calculate what patients and insurers currently pay for competing drugs or surgery. If there are no other medicines or surgical treatments for a given disease, the company will evaluate the cost of allowing that disease to remain untreated, a calculation that can drive a drug price to astronomical heights. Three in five personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills according to one estimate. Proponents say the high-priced drug tiers encourage patients to select lower-cost medications, just as similar efforts in the past decade led to a dramatic rise in the use of lower-cost generics.

Prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs including Viagra rose more than 25%, other erectile dysfunction drugs also experienced significant rise in prescriptions. Among the highest-sold drugs, antidepressant medicines experienced a large increase up to 7.2%! One in 20 prescriptions were for patients aged under 16 or 16-18 and in full-time education. This age group accounted for 6.9% of the total ingredient cost of all prescriptions.