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Some pharmacies saying no to insurance, opting for cash payments

Drug Prices Lobbying
Posted at 12:55 PM, Nov 10, 2022

A small but growing number of cash-only pharmacies are hoping to save people money on their prescriptions by not taking insurance.

“The two main things that cash pharmacies are doing are giving patients a lower cost, and giving patients transparency that they don't feel like they have elsewhere,” said Tim Epple, managing director at Avalere Health.

Mark Cuban's Cost Plus drug company is one example of this that launched this year.

More local pharmacies across the country are also starting to take a more cash-based approach.

“There are examples where products going through insurance can be, you know, still in the hundreds, if not the low thousands of dollars, where, through a cash pharmacy, might be $15 or $20 for a 30-day supply,” said Epple.

Pharmacies sell generic medications at the price they pay for them and add on a dispensing and shipping fee that they tell you about ahead of time.

This is different from not paying with insurance at a normal pharmacy because you may not get the same price benefit.

“There's always been a little bit of a black box around how pharmacies work, how drugs are priced, how patients get to them. Like as more patients learn out the model and seek to find out, that will, I think, incentivize more pharmacies to make that switch

The model is dependent on generic drugs.

So more of them need to be available for cash pharmacies to expand.