HealthLinks Charleston May/June 2022

www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com | 69 If your medical insurance isn’t doing a good job of covering the cost or co-pays for generic prescriptions, The Pharmacy Club in Charleston might be a better option for everything from vitamin D to antacids to high blood pressure medicine. Because it has no contracts with insurance companies, The Pharmacy Club not only provides lower-than-insurance-cost prescriptions but also allows you to get them without using your insurance. “Instead of having to go through third parties and follow their rules for pricing, we set our own prices,” said Morgan Echanique, pharmacist and owner of The Pharmacy Club. “And most of the time, we can also beat co-pay prices, as well as the popular discount cards that people use, like GoodRx.” Consider the example of a client who was previously filling a medication at a large chain pharmacy. “The client’s prescription was for 20 milligrams of generic Lexapro – escitalopram – for treating depression, and it cost $8 for a 30-day supply,” Echanique said. “After switching their prescription to The Pharmacy Club, they are now paying only $12 for a 90-day supply.” And even though by definition it is a retail cash pharmacy, The Pharmacy Club accepts all payments by cash, check, debit card or any major credit card. “The term ‘retail pharmacy’ just means that we do not contract with or bill insurance companies for prescriptions,” Echanique said. Also consider that The Pharmacy Club bases its generic medicine prices on what the medication actually costs it to purchase. And, Echanique pointed out, if you use a traditional pharmacy, your prescription co-pay can actually be higher than “the actual cost of the medication.” Prescription overcharging is a longtime, ongoing battle both for consumers and regulators. Who can forget in late 2019, when The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company Mylan N.V. relating to a Department of Justice probe into whether Mylan overcharged Medicaid by hundreds of millions of dollars for EpiPen, its largest revenue- and profit-generating product. And in the spring of 2021, The Federal Trade Commission charged two pharmaceutical companies – Invidior and Reckitt Benckiser Group – for using “anticompetitive tactics to impede competition from lower-cost generics.” The FTC subsequently recompensed more than $59 million to consumers for what it deemed as “deceptive practices that make it harder or more expensive to get prescription medication.” These kinds of actions are part of the reason Echanique formed The Pharmacy Club. “Transparency is one of the areas of our health care industry that needs help,” Echanique said. “We strive to be a place that patients from all backgrounds can come and feel confident that they are not being overcharged.” LOWERING THE COST OF PRESCRIPTIONS By L. C. Leach III SPONSORED MEDICAL CONTENT For more information, visit