One of the driving factors for the increase of medical insurance premiums is the cost of prescription drugs. There is a prescription for everything. Twenty years ago, we weren’t walking into our doctor’s office asking for a prescription by name. Today we know the names of the prescription we want to take, and we ask our doctor WHY we’re not already on that prescription. If we can use generic drugs whenever the opportunity presents itself, it will not only save us money and our employers money by reducing the claims that are paid.
This results in a correlation to reducing medical renewal costs. The co-payments we pay are not the total drug cost. Most plans still have co-payments for prescription drugs. The cost of the drug, determines the level of copay we pay. However, just because we have a $10 or $50 co-payment, doesn’t reflect the actual cost for that drug. See the example below. You will see an estimated cost for Zoloft is $141.80. If you have a co-payment of $70, who do you think is paying the difference in that cost? That’s right, your insurance company. That is why it is so important to take advantage of generic drugs, and less expensive alternatives whenever possible.
How is this done? You make friends with your Pharmacist! Remember, the Pharmacist is our friend. Whenever getting a prescription filled, ask the Pharmacist if there is an alternative medicine which would do the same job, or if there is a generic available. Sometimes the medication that is prescribed to us is the medicine we have to take. Sometimes there are no alternatives to these medications. However, alot of the time our doctors prescribe a new medication that will cost us more money than a prescription that has been around a lot longer, but is more cost effective. The pharmacist can answer these questions for you. If there is an alternative available, you can ask your doctor if there is any reason why you weren’t prescribed that drug.
See the list below comparing cost of some brand name drugs, their generic alternative, and savings associated by taking that generic.
Brand Name Cost Generic Equivalent Cost Savings
Ambien $154.39 Zolpidem $16.02 $138.37
Casodex $704.44 Bicalutamide $226.23 $478.21
Coreg $160.94 Carvedilol $19.04 $141.90
Flomax $165.13 Tamsulosin $59.93 $105.20
Fosamax $102.28 Alendronate $15.74 $86.54
Glucophage $120.11 Metformin $16.28 $103.83
Imitrex $294.75 Sumatriptan $76.93 $217.82
Keppra $484.01 Levetiracetam $82.57 $401.44
Lamictal $419.59 Lamotrigine $26.03 $393.56
Norvasc $85.06 Amlodipine $19.23 $65.83
Pravachol $188.55 Pravastatin $16.77 $171.78
Prilosec $334.33 Omeprazole $28.14 $306.19
Prozac $344.86 Fluoxetine $21.03 $323.83
Requip $186.14 Ropinirole $43.97 $142.17
Risperdal $344.45 Risperdone $51.70 $292.75
Topamax $426.19 Topiramate $33.36 $392.83
Trileptal $342.69 Oxcarbazepine $85.87 $256.82
Ultram $163.05 Tramadol $25.43 $137.62
Xanax $114.07 Alprazolam $16.57 $97.50
Zestril $63.57 Lisinopril $9.92 $53.65
Zocor $183.41 Simvastatin $19.73 $163.68
Zoloft $141. 80 Sertraline $24.21 $117.59