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More on Drug Costs

  /   Tuesday November 18, 2003  

I thought of one other reason why pharmacists don’t get caught up quite so much in industry bias:

Believe it or not, pharmacists make more money on generics.

Yes, it’s true. You may pay $100 for a brand-name product, but it may have cost the pharmacist $80. This results in a profit of $20. You may pay $50 for the same generic, but the pharmacist may have only paid $10 for it. Therefore, you save $50, and the pharmacist makes twice as much money.

Of course, profit isn’t as easy to come by as it used to be. If you pay cash for drugs, you will pay much more than you used to. Insurance companies try to squeeze pharmacists for all they can. Therefore, they have only two places to make up their money: the non-prescription items in the pharmacy, and the cash-paying customers.

As strange as it seems, insurance companies dictate to pharmacies what they will pay for drugs. The problem that has arisen is that there are some places out there that aren’t trying to make money on their pharmacy. They have that pharmacy as a means to get people to other parts of their store. It is possible that they will understaff the pharmacy so that it takes them forever to fill the prescription (To be fair, this may not be by choice as there is a nationwide shortage of pharmacists.). Meanwhile, the customer is shopping and buying things that make money. These businesses will then accept insurance plans that others won’t and undersell everyone they can.

All of this amounts to stress and headaches for pharmacists. It is an enormous headache for pharmacists to deal with prescription insurance. On top of that, you have some nutty pharmacy managers who compare the cost of having a pharmacist make a mistake in filling a prescription against the cost of either hiring more staff or otherwise allowing the pharmacist more time to check prescriptions for accuracy. In other words, your safety becomes a matter of cost accounting.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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