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Keep a druggist in your pocket

March 01, 2011 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: newsobserver.com, 2.28.2011 – by Sue Stock

It’s not enough for America’s big pharmacy chains to be on every corner.

Now they want to be in your pocket, too.

This year the behemoths of the pharmacy industry including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Target are all ramping up efforts to offer you pharmacy services via your mobile phone.

Want to refill a prescription? No problem.

Check on your medication history? You can do that, too.

Walgreens has even introduced a refill system that allows you to order a prescription refill by using your smart phone camera to take a picture of the bar code on your medication bottle.

The pharmacies say the added features are all about convenience.

“If you look at our national footprint of 7,600 stores throughout the country, our physical stores are within three miles of nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population,” Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn said. “I think that what we’re doing through our online and our mobile offerings is really extending that convenience to our customers through this channel.”

But, there are other reasons for such companies to explore mobile technology, especially in the super-competitive pharmacy business, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health, a health care advisory company in Washington, and a Duke University adjunct professor.

“What they’re really trying to do is create ‘stickiness’ among their clientele, and they’re also trying to appeal to younger customers who are maybe not going into the pharmacy for other things,” he said. “It’s a marketing strategy and not a whole lot more.”

Still, it seems to be working. Walgreens reports that more than 1 million people have signed up to receive alerts by text message when their refills are ready.

And with that kind of interest from consumers, it should be no surprise that smaller and independent pharmacists are watching closely. Raleigh-based Kerr Drug is exploring mobile technology this year, spokeswoman Diane Eliezer said. Kerr already offers refills through its website.

“We’re just looking for more ways for people to reach us with different devices,” she said. “We’re not going to hesitate to try it when the time is right.”

Here’s a rundown of the different services that are available for consumers:

CVS : Last year, CVS introduced an iPhone app that allows users to refill and transfer prescriptions, view prescription history, access drug information, view the weekly sales ad and use a GPS navigator to locate the nearest store. Users of other devices, including Blackberry and Android phones, can access the same services through the CVS mobile site, m.cvs.com .

Rite Aid : In September, Rite Aid introduced the option for customers to opt in to receive alerts about their prescriptions via text message,e-mail or automated phone call. To opt in, customers should create a profile at www.myriteaid.com and select the appropriate option.

Target: Target has set up a dedicated mobile website, target.com/rx , where users can find a pharmacy, refill or transfer a prescription and enroll in auto refills.

Walgreens: Walgreens has apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry users that allow customers to find the nearest pharmacy, order refills, access prescription records, view the weekly ad, make a personalized shopping list and even order prints of photos that they take with their mobile phones. The feature through which customers can scan the bar code on their prescription bottles to order refills is only available for iPhone and Android users at this time. More information is available at www.walgreens.com/ mobile .

Savings Experiment: Treating the High Cost of Prescription Drugs

February 17, 2011 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: WalletPop.com, by Barbara Thau – 2.15.2011

As the economy still muddles through a funk, the price of prescription drugs continues to soar. in fact, drug prices are the fastest growing chunk of consumers’ healthcare expenses, according to the non-profit Families USA.

But there are myriad ways to meaningfully trim your prescription drug bill. From generic drugs to assistance programs — here’s how to save on your meds — and do so safely.

Avoid Brand Names

To slash as much as 70% off the price of your medications, buy generic.

“If you are given a prescription for a brand name drug from your doctor, it’s always good to ask, ‘Is there a generic equivalent for this drug?’ ” says Jody Rohlena, senior editor at Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart.

A recent report by Best Buy Drugs, a division of Consumers Union (Consumer Reports’ parent company), examined the safety and effectiveness of prescription medications and found that generics are as safe and effective as brand names.

Tap Low-Cost Prescription Programs (Located On Medtipster.com)

Take advantage of the price war being waged among national discounters and supermarket chains for generic prescription medications.

Walmart, Target and Kroger charge $4 for a month’s supply on hundreds of generic drugs. Some other options, recommends ShopSmart, include Costco, Kmart, Drugstore.com and Walgreens, which also run reputable and highly-affordable discount drug programs.

To save a few extra dollars, ask your doctor for 90-day prescriptions. Walmart, for example, offers $4 for a month’s supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. With buying in bulk, the savings will add up as you fill more prescriptions and it will also save you trips to the drugstore.

‘Splitting’ the Cost

If you take prescription drugs to treat a chronic illness, you might be able to save money by splitting your pills — literally cutting them in half. With prescription medication costs soaring, many doctors are advising patients to do just that.

Pill-splitting can save money because pharmacies routinely charge roughly the same amount for a particular medication, regardless of the dose. But don’t go it alone: It’s crucial to consult your doctor about splitting your pills as not all medicines can be safely divided.

For example, a once-a-day drug may cost $100 for a month’s supply in either a 100-milligram dose or a 50-mg dose. If your doctor prescribes the 50-mg pill, it will set you back $100. But if your doctor prescribes the 100-mg pill and instructs you to cut it in half, $100 will get you two months worth of the medication, according to The Shoppers Guide to Prescription Drugs: Pill Splitting, a report from Best Buy Drugs.

Pill-splitters cost between $5 and $10 and can be found in most drugstores.

Although the American Medical Association opposes the practice, they acknowledge that many pills can be split safely if done correctly, the Best Buy Drugs report says.

Ask for Help

If you’re having trouble paying for medication, let your doctor know.

A physician can help spell out your options, such as financial help through your insurer, if you have one, and patient-assistance programs that you might qualify for.

Some pharmaceutical companies also provide free and low-cost medications to people who cannot afford to pay for medications.

RxAssist offers a database of such programs, as well as ways to manage your prescription drug expenses. DestinationRx is another source, with price comparison tools and guidance on drug-purchasing options.

Rx Savings for Seniors

The quest for affordable medication takes on a heightened sense of urgency when it comes to seniors: Most seniors are on a fixed income and are among the biggest consumers of prescription drugs, representing 34% of the prescriptions filled in the U.S., according to Families USA.

High costs mean that many seniors “have had to make some tough decisions in terms of taking their medicines,” says David Allen, a spokesman for AARP.

Now the government is offering some relief. A provision in the new healthcare law is designed to take a bite out of what’s known as “the doughnut hole,” and over time close the coverage gap on prescription medications.

As things were last year, once seniors spent $2,830 on medication, they had to pay 100% for their prescriptions until they reached the $3,610 threshold — a financial hardship for many older Americans. Now, when they reach the $2,830 threshold, the government will chip in 50% of the cost for brand-name drugs and 7% for generics, Allen says. By 2020, the doughnut hole will cease to exist, says Allen.

If you’re on Medicare, keep track of your particular prescription costs with AARP’s Doughnut Hole Calculator.

Use it to alert you when you’re nearing the coverage gap. It also will offer a list of alternative, lower-cost drugs based on your prescription drug profile that you can take to your doctor to discuss whether switching to a lower-cost drug will work for you.

In addition, AARP provides a handy Drug Savings Tool link where consumers can compare a drug’s efficacy and price against alternative medications listed by Best Buy Drugs.

Buyer Beware: Pharmacy Fraud

Pharmacy fraud is alive and well and living on the Internet. Scam artists are there seeking money, or personal information to commit identity theft.

These types of predators mostly hunt their prey online, says Sally Hurme, senior product manager of education and outreach for AARP, who tracks pharmacy scams that target the entire drug-purchasing population.

When an online offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. An email offer for prescription medications at bargain basement prices (that does not come directly from a well-known retailer or your health insurance company) is most likely a scam, Hurme says. And email that says “Viagra for $10″ or “Prilosec for $5,” for example, should go right in your email trash — chances are that it will wind up in your spam folder anyway.

Scam artists often masquerade as online pharmacists. They woo consumers to pay upfront in exchange for a supposed drug discount card. Shoppers who “order” their medications receive nothing at all, or drugs that are compromised in some way — be they expired or at the wrong dosage.

Be skeptical. Before filling a prescription online, be sure that the pharmacy requires a doctor’s prescription. And never provide your personal information — such as your Social Security number, credit card or health history — to a website unless you’ve verified that it’s secure, says AARP.

Pharmacies embrace expanding medical role

September 13, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: News & Observer – 9.12.2010

After years of adding everything from groceries to grills to their inventory, drugstore chains are once again emphasizing their pharmacies.

Pharmacists are being asked – and paid by insurance companies – to monitor their customers’ health. That could include counseling them on chronic diseases, making sure they’re taking their medications, and screening for maladies from diabetes to high cholesterol.

While many pharmacists have long done more than dispense pills, this is the first time many have been able to offer such a wide range of medical services – partially because of changes in the way pharmacists are educated, and partially because of legislative changes that have cleared the way for an expanded role.

For pharmaceutical chains, the change is an opportunity to develop new sources of revenue in a highly competitive industry.

For customers, it’s another option for health care, and one that may be less expensive and take less time than a trip to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

“I think it’s a mixture of everything that’s going on,” said David Catalano , a Raleigh pharmacist who works for Walgreens . “[Customers] are trying to get some advice as quick as they can from someone they can trust.”

The emphasis on pharmacists makes economic sense for health insurers. Pharmacists have expertise and often have a customer’s entire medical picture, so they can catch prescription overlaps or possible drug interactions. Nor do they command the same fees that a physician does from a health insurer.

The push toward enlisting pharmacists to do more than dispense drugs comes as the nation is trying to lower health care costs. A 2007 study from the New England Healthcare Institute estimated that 13 percent of total health care expenditures – more than $290 billion a year – are made simply because people don’t take their medications as prescribed. Those people have a higher likelihood of winding up in the emergency room or with other complications because they did not follow their doctor’s instructions.

But not everyone is happy with pharmacists treading on turf that was once solely the territory of doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics.

“Store-based health clinics can offer patients an option for episodic care but cannot replace the patient-physician relationship,” said Rebecca Patchin , a doctor from California and board member of the American Medical Association . “Patients deserve timely access to affordable, high-quality care provided by health care professionals that are appropriately and adequately trained. Convenience should never compromise safety.”

‘Closer than my doctor’

Over the past four years, James Evans has come to rely on Prasanna Bafna, a pharmacist near his Durham home, for much of his medical advice.

On Thursday, Evans was at his Rite Aid for an hourlong counseling session with Bafna.

They reviewed Evans’ medications, including drugs for diabetes, high blood pressure and poor circulation.

Though the pharmacist didn’t tell him to make any major changes, Evans said the opportunity to speak with a medical professional for such a length of time is invaluable.

“It’s wonderful,” said Evans, 76, of Durham. “When it’s time for my medicine, it’s right on time. I don’t have to stand there and wait on it. The other pharmacist I used to go to, you’d have to sit and wait for hours. … [Bafna] is closer than my doctor. My doctor is eight or nine miles from here.”

Proponents of the expanded role of pharmacists say that getting customers like Evans to utilize the new services being offered is key to making the system work and lowering health care costs.

Reimbursement rates

In general, pharmacists are not reimbursed as much money as doctors are for immunizations and the like, said Dan Mendelson , CEO of Avalere Health , a health care advisory company in Washington, D.C., and a Duke University adjunct professor.

“Most pharmacies are not allowed to bill for a pharmacy visit,” he said. “They’re allowed to bill for a vaccine, but there’s no routine office visit into the pharmacy that gets paid for by the insurance.”

The insurance companies may choose to reimburse the pharmacists more money or for additional services if there is a shortage of doctors or other circumstances in a particular region, Mendelson added, but “it depends on what the insurance company is trying to accomplish with respect to its network.”

The model is getting a boost from federal legislators. Some changes triggered by the new health care law will take effect later this month, with other changes rolled out in the years to come.

As of this year, laws in all 50 states also allow pharmacists to administer immunizations, something that also clears the way for expanded services.

Some companies are using the additional services simply as another way to get customers through the door, even if some of the services are not yet reimbursed by insurance, Mendelson said.

“It’s really about bringing purchasers into the box,” he said. “That’s what they call it. The box is the four walls in the pharmacy. If you can bring purchasers into the box then you’re doing fine. If a consumer comes in and they buy all kinds of other stuff, you’re doing well.”

Enhanced training

In addition to legislative changes last year, there have also been changes in the pharmacy industry that have helped pharmacists reach this point, said Edith Rosato , senior vice president of pharmacy affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores .

She credits federal plans which began paying pharmacists to counsel Medicare and Medicaid patients in the hopes of improving results. She also said that an academic change was also key Students earning a pharmacy degree must now get a year of training on counseling and interacting with patients.

That set the foundation for the industry to focus more on patient care services, Rosato said.

So far, studies have indicated the services are working.

Raleigh-based Kerr Drug has taken the lead in this state in offering preventive care and has gone so far as to design some stores to focus exclusively on health and wellness. In Asheville, the company partnered with the city and the Mission-St. Joseph’s Health System to see whether pharmacists with expanded roles could help diabetes patients better manage their diseases and save in overall health care costs.

Kerr found that the annual health care costs for the diabetes patients participating in Asheville declined by 9.8 percent per year. One employer had an average reduction of 41 percent in sick days taken by participating patients, which equated to an estimated $18,000 in increased productivity for the company.

The need for these types of clinics will only increase as the population grows older and more people are diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, said Rebecca Chater , executive vice president of Kerr Health , a subsidiary of Kerr Drug.

“Look at the number of people who are now moving into Medicare age,” she said. “If you look at medication use in that population, people who are within the Medicare system have 13 different prescriptions on average, with 50 different medications filled each year on average. The opportunity is huge.”

But getting to a point where insurance companies are willing to reimburse for more preventive services and pharmacists are willing to offer them is tricky business, said Jay Campbell , executive director of the N.C. Board of Pharmacy.

“There is a bit of a chicken and the egg aspect,” he said. “Health care being the huge expenditure it is, folks aren’t going to want to spend money until there’s a demonstrated benefit for those services. But private insurers have to start seeing enough of a value to provide the reimbursement.”

‘Cookbook medicine’

Still, some physicians say there are risks to having health care administered by pharmacists instead of doctors.

Linwood Watson , a family medicine doctor with an urgent care clinic called Rex Express Care in Knightdale, said he thinks patients like the new options because they are very transparent. There is a set fee for each service, and no secrets about what things will cost.

“Everyone wants cookbook medicine, but what happens when your body doesn’t read the book?” he said.

Pharmacies respond by saying that they work closely with area doctors to offer referrals to customers who do not have a primary care physician or need further medical expertise.

But with so many options and such a fragmented system, Watson said, he feels patients will have to take more responsibility for their own care in order to ensure continuity.

“If you want to go buy a car, and you want a good deal, you’re going to have to do some research, keep some records and be prepared,” he said. “Are you prepared to do that for your health care?”

Copyright © 2010 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Online Pharmacy Services are here. Use them!

August 09, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Savvy innovations keep drug stores ahead of the game

www.Medtipster.com Source: Drug Store News, 8.6.10 – by Michael Johnsen

Consumers are working more, playing more, shopping more and learning more online than ever before. So the click-and-consult services proffered by Walgreens and Rite Aid not only represent today’s cutting edge technology, but also provide a peek into how consumers may interact with their healthcare team tomorrow.

Other national pharmacy operations can’t be too far behind. Because making pharmacists accessible to patients on their terms, in their time, allows pharmacy retailers the chance to “shake their moneymaker,” as the saying goes.

Pharmacists are drug stores’ most valued assets, and making them available to consumers 24/7 through their own computer screens is an important extension of the brand that doesn’t necessarily incur greater labor costs. Especially as these cyber-pharmacists are able to consult patients from coast-to-coast out of one central location. And if more patients get it in their heads that consulting pharmacists at their convenience on their laptops, smart phones or iPads is the new time-efficient way to get the best answers to their health questions, that can only improve efficiencies at the store level.

Providing a more comprehensive pharmacy service by incorporating an interactive online component also may boost patient retention. During an exclusive interview with The Drug Store News Group last fall, banking veteran and now Walgreens’ SVP e-commerce Sona Chawla explained that those forward-thinking bank institutions that had implemented online banking services in the beginning found that those account-holders who took advantage of those services were less likely to migrate to another bank and just as likely to visit an actual brick-and-mortar branch.

And now Walgreens and Rite Aid will find out if the same will hold true for pharmacy patients — making a more loyal patient who not only increases his or her actual interaction with the pharmacy online but also continues to make as many visits to the actual stores.

Local pharmacies leery of Caterpillar Rx policy

July 09, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source: Winston-Salem Journal, 7.9.2010

A group of independent local pharmacies supports Caterpillar Inc. opening a plant in Winston-Salem, but not if it costs them customers.

That’s why they are appealing to city and county officials to make equal prescription-drug access to potential Caterpillar employees a part of any incentive package with the company.

The pharmacies are concerned about a preferred prescription-drug agreement that Caterpillar has with Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

The agreement, which runs through 2011, provides for lower or no co-pays for Caterpillar employees who fill their prescriptions with Walgreens and Wal-Mart. Employees pay more if they fill their prescriptions through an online or mail-order pharmacy, other chains or independent pharmacies.

“With Caterpillar’s policy, if one of our customers gets hired by Caterpillar, we could lose them,” said Dave Marley, the president and chief executive of Marley Drug in Winston-Salem.

“This, combined with the fact that our own tax dollars were used to entice Caterpillar, and it becomes wholly unacceptable.”

Caterpillar has named Winston-Salem as one of three finalists, along with Montgomery, Ala., and Spartanburg, S.C., for a proposed $426 million manufacturing plant with 510 company and contract employees.

Last week, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County offered Caterpillar a combined $23.4 million in incentives. Caterpillar plans to make a decision in August.

Marley said that the pharmacies are “willing to accept the exact same reimbursement terms given by Walgreens and Wal-Mart.”

“We feel there is no way this would be negotiated after the fact, so if there is going to be a change in Caterpillar’s policy, it has to be raised now and discussed now,” Marley said.

Also making the request are Andrews Pharmacy, East Winston Pharmacy, Gateway Pharmacy, Jonestown Pharmacy, Lewisville Drug, Medicap Pharmacy on Liberty Street and Medicap Pharmacy on Reynolda Road.

Mayor Allen Joines said the city “will bring this concern to the company’s attention if we are lucky enough to be negotiating a contract.”

At cathealthbenefits.cat.com, Caterpillar said the “direct contracts with Wal-Mart and Walgreens use a transparent cost-plus pricing methodology that is intended to eliminate unnecessary and hidden costs in the prescription-drug supply chain.”

Caterpillar did amend its policy to allow independent pharmacies to participate at the Walgreens and Wal-Mart tier in rural areas that don’t have easy access to those stores.

A small percentage of employers have adopted similar policies regarding prescription drugs, said Steve Graybill, a senior consultant for Mercer, a human-resources consulting company.

David Howard, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said that in 2009, the manufacturer opened up its health-care plan to give employees access to more than 59,000 pharmacies, including national chains and many local pharmacies. Before that, Reynolds provided most medical care for its employees through company-sponsored clinics such as Winston-Salem Health Care.

The bulk of local Reynolds employees have still chosen to use Winston-Salem Health Care and its pharmacy for years, Howard said. “Employees have the option to go outside of network for health care and prescriptions, but they will have higher out-of-pocket costs,” Howard said.

Media General Inc., the parent company of the Winston-Salem Journal, has a contract with Medco, a mail-order pharmacy that provides discounts for employees, but employees can fill prescriptions elsewhere, as well.

Try Local Drugstore For Faster Refund On Recalled Kids’ Medicines

May 13, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: NPR Health Blog – Scott Hensley, 5.6.2010

If you’ve rooted around your medicine chest and found some of the kids’ Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl or Zyrtec recalled by Johnson & Johnson, what should you do?

The company’s McNeil unit says it will give you a refund, but you have to fill out a form online. Oh, and you also have to be available for a chat, in case a company rep wants to call and verify the info.

The New York Times’ Ron Lieber ripped J&J for not being better prepared and for not telling people sooner that refunds would be an option. The early advice was just to toss the stuff out.

On a listserv for families in our D.C. suburb, one helpful mom said she’d had good luck with the local CVS drugstore, which would even take back the affected medicines without a receipt.

We called CVS HQ in Rhode Island, where spokesman Mike DeAngelis told us the chain would, as is its usual policy, give cash refunds if a customer has a receipt. Without one, you get store credit in the form of a CVS gift card.

What if some of the medicine has been used? Doesn’t matter, he said. Bring in what you’ve got. So far, he said, the returns haven’t been all that heavy. CVS has already cleared its shelves of the affected medicines, and the computerized cash registers won’t let you buy any either.

We emailed rival chain Walgreens, but haven’t heard back yet. The company did post a letter it got from McNeil on what to do with the recalled remedies, though.

Update: OK, we just talked to Robert Elfinger, a spokesman for Walgreens, and you can take your recalled meds back to them for a refund, too.

“Bring the bottle back to the store, whether it’s full, or halfway full,” he just told us. “We’ll take it back and give the customer store credit.” If you’ve got the receipt, Walgreens will give you cash.

Locate a CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens closest to your home on Medtipster.com

Walgreen to Acquire Duane Reade, Add New York Stores

February 17, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser
Nádia – your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Walgreen Co., the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, agreed to buy Duane Reade Holdings Inc. from affiliates of Oak Hill Capital Partners for $1.08 billion, to expand in metropolitan New York. 

We are watching this closely as it relates to both chains discount generic programs. We anticipate Walgreens to eventually include their existing Prescription Savings Club within the Duane Reade locations.  In the meantime, please continue to visit medtipster.com to search for your generic drugs and their discount prices at both chains nationwide.

Pharmacists are Among the Most Trusted Professionals

February 04, 2010 By: Tylar Masters Category: Medicine Advice

Pharmacies work hard to bring you in as a customer, not just once, but for life. They want to be your trusted source for questions and concerns, as well as fill your doctor’s written prescription.

Think about the last time you took a 10-minute drive somewhere. How many CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens did you pass? The fact is there’s a pharmacy on nearly every other corner! The pharmacy industry is crucial to healthcare.

Within every pharmacy, there is a trusted professional called a pharmacist. Otherwise the pharmacy wouldn’t be able to operate. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) states that on average there is a pharmacy within two and a half miles of every resident in the U.S. Many have drive-thru and 24-hour access, meaning whenever you’re in need of a medication, your pharmacist is there for you.

Pharmacists dispense pills, sure, but that’s not all they do. They consult with you regarding your specific prescription, other medications you are taking, side effects, possible alternatives, and answer any questions you have about your health. Many times I’ve walked into my pharmacy looking for an over-the-counter drug for a cold or flu like symptoms, and the pharmacist on duty helps me find the best option for my symptoms.

This shows me a high level of kindness and concern, which healthcare professionals should absolutely carry at all times. I believe in most cases, people find that pharmacy professionals are always willing to answer questions and spend time getting to know their patients. Often this is why pharmacies entice customers to stay with them for refills and ongoing prescriptions, the pharmacist wants to get to know you, and help you determine the right medications for you.

Sources: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

Short on Vaccine, Tall on Profit?

November 03, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

blackout03

Satellite Image of the Blackout of 2003

Will shortages of seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines cause cost increase?

The State of Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wrote inquiries to 13 different manufacturers of the seasonal flu vaccine, in an effort to ensure the price of these immunizations are staying at the national average price. His office has received complaints that suspect previously negotiated agreements between manufacturers of the vaccine have been reneged, causing clinics and pharmacies to stop offering shots, increase the price, or altogether close doors to consumers.

In my last blog, I showed you a picture of a large retail chain’s pharmacy posting of an 8.5” by 11” white sheet of paper with a typed notice, “FLU SHOTS CANCELLED.” Is this an indication that manufacturers and suppliers are going to pull a “black-out” on us? Remember August 13, 2003 when most northeast and midwest states were powerless for hours and, in some cases, days? Remember what happened at gas stations? In Michigan, we saw lines of cars stretching for a half mile from gas stations to fill up on gas for over $5.00 a gallon!

Will flu shot prices double or triple at some pharmacies? Think about this: a neighborhood pharmacy in a small town knows the vaccine is limited, and there is an easy way to double or perhaps triple a profit. Will they do that to their customers? Will you know if these prices are standard in comparison to the other chain pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, or Target?

Price comparing on vaccinations is not as easy as price comparing a new washer and dryer from Sears. You won’t get Progressive Car Insurance’s “price comparison” leader board when you walk through your pharmacy’s door. You can’t place a bid on EBay for your healthcare. And definitely don’t expect to see William Shatner, aka “priceline negotiator,” standing in your hallway ready to break out the best deal for you on your healthcare, vaccinations or prescriptions! He’s just good for deals on vacations, you know, since we can all afford* to take one!

Medtipster.com is the only website specifically designed to locate these vaccinations for you, at the lowest cost available, in your neighborhood. Don’t spend hours calling pharmacies, searching online or driving around when www.medtipster.com has the information you need.

*Sarcasm.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Walgreens Administers 1 Million Flu Shots in Two Weeks

September 17, 2009 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Nadia - your personal pharmacy cost adviserSince it first began administering flu shots only 2 weeks ago, Walgreens has immunized 1 million customers, almost as many as the 1.2 million customers immunized in all of 2008.

Walgreens will also be offering, from 9 tour buses, $1 million worth of flu shot vouchers to uninsured adults, which usually cost $24.99.

Find your nearest Walgreens by using medtipster.com

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