Top Story, Pharma

Rising prescription drug costs are hitting many consumers hard – what are some potential solutions?

With helpful online resources and even a new mobile app, consumers can find ways to not let rising prescription drug costs take them down.

When prescription drug prices go up, many people who need them have to figure out other ways to cut costs in their lives to compensate.

According to a new nationally representative poll from Consumer Reports, one-third of consumers who currently take a prescription medication said they are paying higher prices at the pharmacy, paying on average an extra $39 for their prescriptions.  And, one in 10 reported paying a $100 or more out-of-pocket.

“These cost hikes don’t leave people with many options: they either pay for the drug or walk away and don’t get it,” said Lisa Gill, prescription drug editor at Consumer Reports, according to a press release. “Consumers shouldn’t have to choose between taking medication and going grocery shopping.”

For this reason, Consumer Reports has released its sixth edition prescription drug guide, Best Drugs for Less. The goal is to allow consumers to be more informed about the drugs they choose, where they get them from and to better know how to read drug labels. The information provided on the site was developed with the help of a panel of doctors who provided information on nearly 650 medications.

Other overall tips are making sure to ask about generic options (some doctors rarely prescribe them without being prompted), and Consumer Reports’ secret shoppers found that it’s worthwhile to simply ask a pharmacist for the lowest price.

While resources like Best Drugs for Less are user-friendly and helpful, looking online and shopping around can take time and effort. For that reason, companies like Truveris, a prescription drug software and analytics company, are doing their part to make this process even easier.

Truveris just launched OneRx, a free iOS and Android app that enables consumers to discover the best prices for prescription drugs nearby.

As a Truveris press release stated:

The app is also unique in its ability to automate the process of amassing coupons, freeing consumers from having to seek out savings on their own and allowing them to instantly redeem those savings. It also saves time by providing users with automatic alerts when drug-specific insurer restrictions surface, ensuring that patients have the opportunity to troubleshoot these issues in the healthcare provider’s office and in advance of making the trip to the pharmacy – another unique feature, which increases adherence and overall health.

“As drug prices continue to rise and members are paying more out-of-pocket, there is an urgent need for easy and immediate access to information that will enable prescription drug users to make informed decisions and realize immediate savings,” said Bryan Birch, Chairman, President and CEO of Truveris. “OneRx literally puts this information in the palm of your hand, empowering consumers with the price shopping capabilities we’ve all come to expect in today’s digital age.”

Here’s Truveris’ promo video for OneRx:

Photo: Flickr user Joe Thorn