SingleCare has a money-saving tip for you that many pharmaceutical companies would rather you not know about. Did you know that you can save money (both in the short-term and possibly hundreds of dollars over time) by switching from one prescription drug to an equivalent, equally effective brand alternative? Read on to find out how and why this works, as well as to learn about some common examples. We share advice on how to ask your doctor about it.
There are many prescription drugs in the marketplace that have less expensive brand counterparts. These equivalent options provide the same medical benefit, with the same quality and efficacy, but are made by competing pharmaceutical manufacturers (and sometimes can be found in generic versions as well). If your doctor has prescribed one brand of medication, for example, Lantus for diabetes (made by Sanofi) there may be a cheaper option available on the market by a different manufacturer, for example, Levemir (by Novo Nordisk).
While a pharmacist may help you identify the less expensive brand alternatives where they exist, the pharmacist cannot change your existing prescription without your doctor’s approval. They require your doctor to send through an amended script, naming the less expensive option, in order for the pharmacy to fill your prescription.
Don’t be intimidated by this. There’s a simple, one-step solution. All you need to do to start saving money is place a call to your doctor so he or she can authorize the substitution. It should not take more than 1 or 2 minutes. Once your doctor approves, ask them to immediately send through the amended prescription to your pharmacy of choice. It’s as simple as that.
You can say something like:
“Hello, Dr. [their name]. This is [your name]. You wrote me a prescription for [Drug Name] but I heard that [Cheaper Drug Name] contains the same active ingredient and is as effective for treatment. It is less expensive at my pharmacy. Please will you change my prescription from [Drug A] to [Drug B] and send it through to [your preferred pharmacy] as soon as possible.”
Sometimes, doctors do not know about SingleCare and the prescription discounts we offer. If that is the case, you can add:
“The prescription is less expensive at [pharmacy name] with my SingleCare savings card.”
It’s as simple as that. If your doctor wants to know more about SingleCare, they can learn about our discounts and services at www.singlecare.com.
Here is a list of some popular brand-name prescription drugs that can be substituted for a different, cheaper brand-name alternative (always ask your doctor before switching medications). Click the links below to see how much you can save on either drug with SingleCare discounts and payment plans.
- Compare Ventolin HFA to ProAir HFA
- Compare Proventil HFA to ProAir HFA
- Compare Lantus to Levemir
- Compare Lantus Solostar to Levemir Flextouch
- Compare Humulin N to Novolin N
- Compare Toujeo Solostar to Levemir Flextouch
- Compare Dulera to Symbicort
Researching, developing, testing and marketing new drugs is expensive for pharmaceutical companies. As such, they require long-term patents (20 years), to allow them time to recoup the cost of their investment in developing the drug, without the competition of other manufacturers. The intention of the law is to balance the interest of the general public (access to new drug treatments), with the incentive of pharmaceutical companies to continue researching and producing new treatments.
Once a company’s drug patent has expired, competing manufacturers are able to sell the drug (under a different brand-name and trademark). This is different from the availability of generic drugs. Generic drugs also contain the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs but may come in different sizes, forms or colors (so as not to infringe on trademark branding and marketing of the brand name versions).
Both ProAir HFA (made by Teva) and Ventolin HFA (made by GlaxoSmithKline) are asthma inhalers that contain the active ingredient, albuterol, and are prescribed for COPD, asthma and bronchial maladies. Both products have a 6.5-hour half-life (the time it takes for the concentration of the drug in your plasma to reduce to half of its original concentration). Both drugs exist in the same pregnancy category (“C”) and have the same number and type of known drug interactions. You can read more about these and other similarities between the two drugs at drugs.com.
Ventolin was first approved in July 1986, whereas ProAir HFA, approved by the FDA in 2004, is the newer (and on average) less expensive option. In 2008, ProAir HFA was approved for children with asthma as young as 4 years old.
You can always speak to your doctor or pharmacist to ask about generic or cheaper brand versions of your prescription medication. Always search for your medication on singlecare.com/rx to see which coupons are available (whether you have health insurance or not). Your doctor might be able to help advise on therapeutic options.