Pharmacy Consulting FAQs
Some of our most frequently asked Pharmacy questions:
Do generics work the same as brands?
A generic drug is the same as a brand-name drug in dosage, safety, strength, quality, the way it works, the way it is taken, and the way it should be used. The FDA requires generic drugs to have the same high quality, strength, purity, and stability as brand name drugs. Generic drug makers must prove their drug is ‘bioequivalent’ to the brand name drug — which means that it works the same in the body.
Do medicine prices vary by pharmacy?
Like products sold by any other type of business, the cost of medicines can vary (sometimes substantially) from pharmacy to pharmacy. Differences in the cost of doing business (high rent area vs. low rent), the presence/absence of competition, or differences in acquisition costs between two pharmacies can all play a part in a prescription costing more at one pharmacy than another. Prescription pricing is typically more complex than other goods due to the role that 3rd party payers like health plans or pharmacy benefit managers play in medication pricing. The best way to know whether or not you’re getting a good deal on your medication is to shop around and compare pricing by pharmacy.
What is a compound drug?
A compounded drug is a mixture of one or more active pharmaceutical ingredients into a new preparation, often to meet the unique needs of a particular patient. Compounds can be used to adjust the dose or strength of a medication, to change the form of a medication (from an oral tablet to a syrup, for example) or, in the case of specific allergies an individual might have, to remove non-essential ingredients. Several complications exist with reference to compounds. They can often be quite expensive or unnecessary, and some have not been proven effective in a topical vs. oral form. Many plans do not cover compounds or put tight financial controls in place to protect members and plan sponsors.
What should I do if I miss a dose of my medication?
A general rule for a missed dose of a medication, like an antibiotic or anti-hypertensive medication, is to take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose altogether and simply take your next scheduled dose when it is time. If you frequently miss doses of medication, it may be a good idea to establish a reminder system (an alarm, text reminder, etc). If you take more complex medicines like injectables or those with very specific therapeutic indexes, like seizure medicines, consult your pharmacist for more information on what to do in the case of missed doses.
How do I transfer a prescription from one pharmacy to another?
Transferring a prescription to a new pharmacy is quite easy. You don’t need to contact your doctor for a new prescription. Simply call the new pharmacy (the one you want to transfer your prescription to). Tell them you have a prescription at another pharmacy and you’d like to transfer it to the new pharmacy. The new pharmacy will take it from there — they will call the old pharmacy and request the transfer on your behalf. If the prescription is still current (if you have additional refills remaining), then the new pharmacy will be able to fill it for you. If it is expired, the new pharmacy can contact your physician for a refill authorization. It is possible that you will need to see your doctor for a new prescription, but that would likely have been necessary even at the original pharmacy.
Can my company carve pharmacy out from our current medical carrier and contract directly with a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)?
Carving out pharmacy is possible, and can often result in lower costs than the current health plan carrier is offering. The benefit of carving out pharmacy is a greater degree of plan flexibility, data access, and often, lower costs. Health plan carriers will often prohibit this change or charge substantially increased admin and data integration fees for doing so. Contracting with a stand-alone PBM is an excellent option for many self-funded groups. We advise employers to consider all your benefits options to find the ones that best fit your needs.