by Richard J. Sagall, MD, President of NeedyMeds
Everywhere you look you see claims of savings from drug discount cards. You may be skeptical when cards promise huge savings. And you should be because not all the claims are real.
Too Good to Be True
The old saying “If it seems too good to be true then it probably is” applies to drug discount cards. Drug discount cards have the potential of saving you a lot of money, but you have to understand how they work.
It’s important to remember that they all work basically the same way. Here’s the scoop.
First, a company called a “pharmacy benefits manager” (PBM) or an adjudicator sets up a network of participating pharmacies that agree to accept the cards. Then the PBM negotiates with each pharmacy chain and all the participating local pharmacies offer a discount on the drugs they dispense. The discount is usually a percentage of the cash price of the drug. The percentage may vary from drug to drug.
Next, the PBM finds companies or organizations to market their card. These groups, called marketers, may be for-profit companies or non-profit organizations.