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Cost of Prescription

January 1, 2010

Q: What would the cost be for a 30 day supply of Adderall XR15mg?

A: There is no way to know the cost of a specific drug on a specific date at a specific pharmacy without actually being there with a prescription in hand. Drug companies and pharmacies are not required to publish their prices prior to filling a prescription. In fact, even a telephone call to a pharmacy will not get you the information that you want. But all pharmacies will give you the price before they fill a prescription. The best way, as simplistic as it sounds, is to walk in with your prescription and ask for a price. Even after we know, drug prices change frequently.

Even the federal government gave up on its ambitious project to publish broad data about prescription drug prices for consumer use. The information published was not really very useful to consumers.

Prescription discount plans that essentially sell "discounts" on drugs offer a 30 day free trial simply because they cannot provide accurate drug pricing information to each customer in advance of their actual enrollment in the plan. Offering a money-back trial period to let members measure the savings is the only fair way to sell these discount Rx plans.

One possible exception for many drugs is the HPA co-pay prescription drug plan that places medication in "tiers" and charges a flat fee for each tier. Even this plan has some unknown discount for some "tier 4" drugs. We did not see the specific drug you named listed in the formulary.

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