The companies’ attorneys say their low prices are a result of low overhead and fewer transaction costs. According to the attorneys, some traditional pharmacies aren’t subject to some laws requiring the businesses to participate in drug pricing studies or limit their profit. These companies argue that drug manufacturers’ influence in Congress and state legislatures makes it difficult for the pharmaceutical companies to set prices they deem fair for each drug type. Furthermore, some large pharmaceutical companies in Europe, Japan, Australia, and Canada are involved in bidding for the lowest-cost medication (not necessarily the medication you are using). There are issues regarding competitive purchasing power, prices charged, and public perception of the drug prices. However, as an insurance-related issue, most PBMs don’t offer direct medical coverage to consumers.
A website called Canadian Pharmacy, which focuses on medical costs, has a list of online pharmacies that offer primary health coverage. Other sites, such as MyBlockPharmacy and “herbal drugs”, offer not only the medications they sell but also provide information about the benefits and dangers of medicinal herbs (i.e., herbal remedies are not FDA-approved). Pharmacists also generally have a particular interest in pharmaceutical prices. They are often the first point of contact for a patient’s medications and also are the source of medication instructions, due to a shortage of written drug instructions in most pharmacies.
An agent or pharmacist can be a powerful advocate for patient rights when pharmacy-informed consent is required. Still, research on drug pricing is a complex area. Without the right research, medicine is quite possibly rendered more expensive as the price of each medication is added to the cost of an office visit to get the initial prescription. What Does It Mean to be a “Mail-Order” Pharmacy? There are more than five thousand online pharmacies in the United States and the number is increasing.
There is also a niche market that has spread across the United States. Traditional mail-order pharmacies (also known as pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs) represent only 1 percent of the total United States online pharmacy market. There are three tiers of online pharmacies platinum, gold, and silver.
Those that are excluded from these lists are drugs for which no insurance plan has access to them. Of course, as stated before, not all online pharmacies are “mail-order” in nature and some are legitimate. Typically, if you try to compare prices between these websites, you won’t find much difference. Many online pharmacies work with established drug companies. Generally, these pharmaceutical companies must pay a small fee to be a member of a drug price negotiation group. Some pharmacies even negotiate prices directly with manufacturers. Yet, there is a second class of pharmacies that work with more than one generic drug manufacturer. These pharmacies work exclusively with third-party suppliers that bring generic drugs to the market at discounted prices. These pharmacies generally have a primary-source contract with the supplier. Some pharmacists can help you find a new pharmacy, but they are not always readily available.