One thing we all hate is the high prices we pay in the US today for our prescriptions. Sure we do get some discounts, but that too has become an effort in algorithmic shopping to click here and click there to get the best price. It shouldn’t have to be that way,image but it is as that’s how the systems have been built. There are a ton of discount prescription cards floating around out there and they all vary in one way or another, but the big thing to remember about all of them is that they are a marketing firm that can and will sell your data to make money. In addition, the discount cards act just like a pharmacy benefit manager with getting all your information when you use them to fill a prescription. In addition, some of them offer referral fees so they can increase the size of their data base of patient information. Data means money today and it can be repackaged and resold over and over, and yes, that’s us.
I found a video on YouTube done by a pharmacist that very well in detail describes how the whole process takes place and how these discount cards work. He tells you what to expect and how the pharmacist reacts and uses them for their required input when filling your prescription. He uses some real life examples on a couple commonly prescribed drugs with a brand name and a generic drug. Yes indeed some of this information makes its way to the big pharmacy benefit managers as well.
What is interesting too is that the pharmacist points out with one example, the patient is getting charged the normal “cash” price the pharmacy would have given anyway with an additional $4.00 as a fee added on, so before jumping into any of the discount cards, be sure and ask the pharmacist for the “cash” price first as you may not even need the card at all. It all depends and you have to really check each time. Again the pharmacist makes the point to where they have to send the discount card company information about you so you can get a discount when you use one of them to include the name of your doctor, medication name, etc. so the company now knows who you are, who your doctor is, date of birth, and more. The data is resold to market you for something else, or to compile lists of people taking certain drugs (sold to pharma as an example)
When it comes to privacy policies, you get stuck with the same old legal routine with a policy written by lawyers to be interpreted by lawyers basically that has a lot of “double talk” in the verbiage. This is one big reason I have my campaign and have had it out there for a few years now to get Congress to pass a law to require all data sellers to be licensed-who are they and what are they selling! This really comes in to play when the data about you being sold is flawed and frankly the data sellers don’t care as bad data gets the same price as good data as nobody looks at the data. Why do you think there’s referrals promoting these cards-to get more data to sell!
Again ask the pharmacist for the “cash” discount first as you may not need one of those cards, so find out first. Some pharmacies will refuse to take the cards if the cost of the prescription causes them to lose money as well. I read somewhere that Wal-Mart with their $4.00 generic drug plans being pretty large, no longer will accept the cards. So again using the prescription cards, all comes back around to data for a discount and companies marketing such end up selling or giving the information back to pharma, other marketing companies or even companies like IMS, the largest data seller of health information in the country, making so much money they had an IPO last year and a lot of folks got wealthy from it.