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    Express Scripts Lowers Drug Prices For Some Patients

    How Inside Rx could save patients money.

    Express Scripts this week launched a program that aims to save the uninsured or those with high out-of-pocket costs 34% on prescription drugs.

    Inside Rx is a new, partially owned subsidiary that applies Express Scripts' purchasing power to expand affordable access to brand and generic medications for patients in need. By partnering with GoodRx, Inside Rx “can deliver average savings of 34% on prescription medications . . .”, according to a statement from Express Scripts, one of the largest pharmacy benefits managers in the country. PBMs usually work through health insurance plans, putting the savings that they negotiate with drug makers out of reach for those with no insurance.

    The benefits are available at CVS, Walgreens, the Kroger Family of Pharmacies, and other pharmacies nationwide, at a total of 40,000 stores. A complete list of available medications and participating pharmacies is available at www.insiderx.com.

    Related article: PBM giants cut drug expenses

    "Kroger is excited to partner with Express Scripts on this new program that creates affordability and expands access to medications for many of our patients," said Colleen Lindholz, President of Pharmacy and The Little Clinic at the Kroger Co. Inside Rx cards also will be available shortly at the Kroger Family of Pharmacy locations.

    "We have a unique opportunity to put medicine within reach of those who need it. By practicing pharmacy smarter, we are bringing together companies across health care to truly deliver value," said Express Scripts President and CEO Tim Wentworth.

    Here’s how Inside Rx works: Patients visit www.goodrx.com/brand or download the GoodRx mobile app to “instantly access significant savings for more than 40 popular brand name drugs that treat diabetes, asthma, heart disease, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, gout, and other common illnesses”, Express Scripts said.

    There is no fee to obtain prescription savings. Eligible patients simply present the discount via card or mobile app at one of 40,000 pharmacies nationwide.

    “While savings vary per drug and pharmacy, eligible patients can save an average of 34% off of the drug's typical cash price, which could translate into savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars per person per year,” Express Scripts said.

    Related article: Is Express Scripts ‘slamming’ pharmacy customers?

    The program came about via a unique, cross-industry collaboration among Inside Rx, GoodRx, participating retail pharmacies, and major pharmaceutical companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly and Company, Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.  

    “All stakeholders share a focus to ensure patients have expanded access to affordable medications. Today, more than 30 million Americans pay the full cost of their prescriptions,” Express Scripts said.

    However, the program will not be available to anyone covered by Medicare or Medicaid, according to the New York Times, because it could be seen as violating anti-kickback regulations. 

    Christine Blank
    Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.

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