Should You Comparison Shop Prescription Prices?
Not if You’re A RegenceRx Member
Prescription prices can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy–sometimes
dramatically. At RegenceRx, we do the comparison shopping
Here is a good example. We calculated
the RegenceRx price and requested price quotes on two generic
medications from four different chain or discount pharmacies
in the Seattle area on March 9, 2005, with these results:
In all cases the caller was given a “cash price.” As
a RegenceRx member, the caller was told they would likely
pay less, but the pharmacies were unwilling to say how
much less without seeing the member’s actual prescription
and member card.
Pharmacy A told the caller that as a RegenceRx member
the price would be the same at any drug store. Pharmacy
C stated the member would only have to pay a copay, although
the exact copay amount depended on the specific prescription
The fact is, at RegenceRx, we do the comparison shopping
for you. RegenceRx contracts with more than 55,000 pharmacies
nationwide, reducing overall prescription costs for our
members by approximately 40%.* When we contract with a pharmacy,
our agreement means that when you present your member
card, the pharmacy will charge either the RegenceRx contracted
rate or their cash price– whichever is less.
Based on our contracts, if you showed
your member card and had your prescriptions filled at Pharmacy
A, C or D, the total cost would have been $10.05 and $10.95
respectively. You would have paid your copay/coinsurance
amount or those prices, whichever was the lower amount.
If you went to Pharmacy B, you’d have paid $9.99
or your copay/coinsurance amount, whichever was less. In
this example, the most you’d pay is $10.05/$10.95.
Please note: The medications levothyroxine and ranitidine
are both generic and therefore available from various manufacturers
at a variety of prices. With brand-name medications, a
range of prices still exists, though less dramatic.
Understanding and being aware of the actual cost
of our prescriptions is something we can all do to help
reduce the spiraling cost of health care.
*40% represents the difference between the retail prescription
price the pharmacy would charge a cash customer and the
RegenceRx contracted rate. Specific products vary in discount