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News of the Day ... in Perspective

2/15/2005

Insurance-free pharmacies lower consumers’ drug costs

Several pharmacies have discovered that they lower prices significantly by accepting only full payment at the time of service, just as grocers and other retailers do. Because they don’t “take insurance,” they don’t incur the cost of processing claims or verifying eligibility. Nor do they have long waits for payment.

As pharmacies that are reimbursed by insurers make little or no money on brand-name drugs, they typically hike up the prices on generic drugs sold to cash-paying customers. The mark-ups may be as much as 500 percent.

Prices at insurance-free FairCare Rx in Minneapolis-St. Paul compare favorably with those in Canada. A prescription for 100 Mevacor costs $94 in Canada, and only $65 at FairCare Rx.

These pharmacies market themselves to customers with no prescription drug coverage or high copayments, or to insured persons who don’t want to deal with the restrictions and bureaucracy of their insurer (Sean Parnell, The Heartland Institute 2/1/05, www.heartland.org).

Additional information:

Testimony of Robert Berry, M.D., on his insurance-free practice before Joint Economic Committee, April 28, 2004.

“Down with Health Plans!” AAPS News, January 2004

“Get Off the Plantation!” AAPS News, November 2003

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