I recently was networking with a fun group of gals and a question that came up often is “What is the cost to transfer my medication to your pharmacy”? Though the answer is simple, many are not aware of how pharmacies charge for medication and why costs differ. To answer this question, a bit of knowledge is required.
Billing insurances is rather simple for pharmacies and for the most part, it’s insurances that are the deciding factor of what a pharmacy charges its customers. Shiraz (like most pharmacies) adjudicates all insurance claims on-line. Adjudication is the process in which we tell an insurance company that a patient needs a medication. The system, based on your insurance plan, will tell us whether or not a medication is covered, not covered, requires prior authorization, or if another medication must be tried before a particular medication is covered. If the medication is covered, the insurance will tell us what to charge for the patients copay. Your copay is collected and the insurance company reimburses the pharmacy for the remaining cost. Remember, this is a federally monitored system, your copay will never differ between pharmacies.
Cash prices vary among pharmacies. Most pharmacies purchase medications from a wholesaler who of course purchased the medication directly from the manufacturer. The price that is charged the patient is normally the wholesale cost plus a percent to cover labor costs of technicians and pharmacists. This is why costs will vary. Wholesalers will often charge based on volume and pharmacies that purchase a large volume will pass that savings along to their patients. Here is the kicker- many don’t know that the cost between a big box store and a small hometown pharmacy are not going to differ by much. In most cases, no more than a few dollars. Something to consider when making your choice in pharmacies. Here is a good site for comparing drugs http://www.goodrx.com
Now that you know the difference between insurance and cash prices let’s ask that question. Will there be a cost to transfer? The answer is NO and the cost of the drug will only differ if you are paying cash. However, this knowledge does not apply to mail order. Mail order is a subject for another blog.
As a small hometown pharmacy, we enjoy working with you. Developing a relationship with your pharmacy is a great way to prevent drug interactions and allergic reactions. Not to mention the personal care. We can provide any medication that the big box stores provide and we do it with a smile every time.