Pulmonary - Critical Care Associates
of East Texas

Jeffrey M. Shea, M.D., F.C.C.P.
                              Venkatesh Donty, M.D.

About Our Practice
Our Home Page
Our Physicians
Our Office

Patient Information

Medication Costs
Pulmonary Topics

Sleep diary
Pulmonary Procedures
Web Sites of Interest

New Patient Packet
Welcome to the Practice
Registration Forms


Institute for Sleep Disorders
Sleep Diary

Sleep equipment
Sleep disorders


Critical Care
Info for Families

Procedure Photos

Advanced Directives
About Advanced Directives
 DNR Form (PDF)

Smoking Cessation
Web site Links

BET Program
Physician Enrollment

FeedBack Information
Satisfaction Survey
FeedBack Form

What's New
What's New Page

X-ray Interp

                                                                                  Medication Costs



Cheap Drugs From Wal-Mart

October 27, 2006

A new initiative by Wal-Mart Stores is likely to save a lot of folks some money on their prescription drugs.

Wal-Mart announced plans to expand its discount drug plan to 27 states. Under the program, Wal-Mart will charge consumers just $4 for more than 300 popular generic medications. Experts predict rivals will feel pressure to lower their prices to maintain customers. Indeed, Target has already followed suit.

Even those folks with drug coverage through their health insurance should take note since they could save some money, too. While every company plan will vary, the average employer-sponsored health plan charges a co-payment of $10 for a nonbranded medication, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides information and analysis on health-care issues.

Consider Wal-Mart
First, check to see if you live in one of the states. If you don't, check again soon because a Wal-Mart spokesman says the company plans to roll out its discount program to as many states as it can by year's end.

If you do live in one of the "discount" states, check your medications against the $4 generic drug list to see if you can save any money.  What if you already have drug coverage through your health insurer? Typically, when you fill a prescription at a pharmacy, you're charged the insurer's co-pay. Regardless of the medication's cost, even if it retails for less. Wal-Mart, however, says it will charge all of its customers just $4 for participating remedies. Just make sure to present your insurance card with your prescription so the retailer can have the medication added to your health records. (Insurance companies keep all of your medication information together so it can troubleshoot drug interaction issues when you fill a new prescription.)

Other Low Priced Options
What if your generic isn't on Wal-Mart's list? In general, the cheapest generics are found at wholesale club stores, including Sam's Club and Costco. These discounters typically charge 50% less for nonbranded medications, says Gabriel Levitt of PharmacyChecker.com, a web site that monitors prescription-drug costs. While Costco doesn't currently offer one flat fee for its prescriptions, the company says it charges just 3% over its costs for all of its generics. Even better, you don't need a membership card to buy your prescription meds there.

You may also be able to save money by buying your maintenance medications through your insurer's mail-order program, says Mohit Ghose, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry group based in Washington, D.C. Pharmacy-benefit manager Medco, for example, says its mail-order prices are typically 10% lower than retail. While prices will vary somewhat, Medco's small-business members pay just $10 for a 90-day supply of generic drugs. This is not only a slight savings over Wal-Mart, but it also covers some 2,000 medications.

Ask for a Generic
Have a medicine cabinet full of name-brand pills? It's time to ask your doctor for the generic equivalents. Indeed, whenever your physician pulls out his prescription pad, ask if there is a nonbranded version of the same drug. (Nearly 75% of all FDA-approved drugs are available as a generic, according to Medco.) If there isn't a nonbranded version, see if there isn't another comparable medication that has a generic alternative, suggests Alwyn Cassil, spokeswoman for the Center for Studying Health Systems Change, a nonpartisan policy research center funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Often, there are a handful of medications in the same class that offer similar therapeutic benefits.

Work Within Your Formulary
For those times when there is no generic equivalent, try to at least get a prescription for a "preferred" medication. These are name-brand drugs that are on a pharmacy benefit manager's formulary (list of covered drugs) and come at a more reasonable co-payment than a "nonpreferred" drug. While the average co-pay for a preferred drug is $22, the cost rises to $35 for one that's not on the preferred list, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Think of it as going to see a doctor that's in-network vs. one's that out of your insurer's network.

Once you have the prescription it may feel like too much of a hassle to call your doctor back and ask for a new medication that's on the preferred list. Better to carry a copy of your insurer's formulary with you to every appointment. This way your physician will have it in front of her when she is prescribing you medicine. You can find the formulary on your insurer's web site.

Use Your Pretax Dollars
Even if you manage to successfully tap into a discount-drug program, you can still save more through a Flexible Savings Account (FSA). Flexible spending accounts allow consumers to set aside pretax money for health-care expenses, including prescription drugs.

  Below are listed several web sites that may be helpful to you in the event that you are having difficulty affording your medication. 

Although Congress has addressed the prescription benefit for Medicare beneficiaries, many of our patients continue to struggle with the high cost of medications.

As a way to assist our patients, please check out these pharmaceutical assistance programs.

  1. www.helpingpatients.org -- is a great website to identify and understand the more than 275 public and private patient assistance programs for medications
    1. You will need to enter the medication, as well as some information about your demographics and income level. The programs for which you are eligible, if any, will be presented, as will links to more information and the application forms.
    1. There is an online application wizard to fill out the forms for all of the available programs at once.
  2. www.needymeds.com
  3. www.rxassist.org
  4. www.ncsl.org/programs/health/drugaid.htm
  5. www.canadameds.com
  6. www.wehelpmeds.com

We do not endorse any of these sites.  They are provided for your information only.  We have not investigated whether fees are required or the quality of medication delivered.  Evaluate and order medication at your risk and discretion.


Last Updated on
August 10, 2009

[Feedback] [What's New?]

Copyright 1999-2009 PCCA, All Rights Reserved
Please read this Disclaimer