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    Pharmacies Play a Key Role in One Business’ Mission to Help the Uninsured


    What began as a social mission to help one small community has transformed over the last 11 years into a successful nationwide program that remains committed to its original mission: helping the uninsured get more affordable prescription drugs.

    Joe SanginitiIn just over ten years, Bethlehem, PA-based FamilyWize estimates that it has helped 10 million people save a total of $1 billion in prescription drug costs. However, Joe Sanginiti, President and Chief Executive Officer of FamilyWize, says the company’s success wouldn’t have been possible on its own.

    “Our model is about partnerships. We partner with United Way, the American Heart Association, the National Council on Aging, mental health institutions and most importantly, our pharmacies, the large retailers to the small retailers to independents across the country,” he says.

    Partnerships with community and government organizations, such as United Way, allow FamilyWize to pool together large numbers of patients who are either uninsured, or as Sanginiti describes it, underinsured due to high medication costs or high deductibles.

    FamilyWize then works with more than 60,000 pharmacies across the nation to negotiate discounts on prescription drugs in a process similar to how pharmacies work with employers or insurance companies.

    Unlike manufacturer coupons or rebate programs, customers who use the free FamilyWize prescription card are able to save instantly at the pharmacy counter.

    While the discount can range anywhere from 20% to 80%, Sanginiti says the average is about 43%. The discount is passed directly on to the consumer.

    Jill Sederstrom
    Jill Sederstrom is a Contributing Editor

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      Drug X costs your pharmacy $10, so you sell it for $15. Discount card Y gets it to your patient for $12. Sounds good, right? Nope. The processor, PBM Z, charges your pharmacy $5 for the transaction. Now, you've just spent $15 to collect $12. What can you do? Well, just raise the price to $20, so the new pricing will get adjusted and the discount card price will be $16. Congrats! You just raised prices for everyone.
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