It has become more common for patients to ask questions regarding the cost of the medications they are prescribed. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes medications represent over one quarter (28%) of all health expenditures attributed to diabetes (1). Several studies from around the globe estimate the average person with diabetes is prescribed between 4 and 10 medications (2-5). Given the cost of medications, it has become the role of healthcare professionals to assist patients in navigating the expense of diabetes drugs, including finding out if there are any prescription assistance programs available.
One resource that can be a first stop for healthcare providers is the Fingertip Formulary. This website includes a Formulary Lookup Tool which allows the user to determine formulary drug status for health plans in your area.The tool offers formulary information on the most commonly prescribed drugs. This can help patients identify the cost of a particular medication based on their health plan.
Most pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance programs to persons who have trouble affording their medications and supplies. Each program has specific criteria that must be satisfied in order for an individual to be considered eligible for a financial assistance program.
Even if a medication is covered on a particular health plan, many pharmaceutical companies also offer “co-pay cards” that can reduce the cost of the co-pay to a smaller amount.
Since offerings change frequently, be sure to speak with your pharmaceutical representatives regarding what is being offered. In addition, anyone can access these programs, so encourage your patients to look into programs. Below is a sampling of reduced co-pay programs currently available:
Farxiga – A co-pay card can be obtained through sales representatives or online here. With a card, monthly prescription will be free for up to 1 year.The company did state that the card will be available annually and the individual can just sign up for a new card each year to receive the medication free.
Bristol-Myers Squibb/Astra Zeneca
Bydureon, Byetta, and SymlinPen – MySavingsRx Card reduces co-pay to $25 for up to 24 months
Onglyza, Kombiglyze XR – MySavingsRx Card reduces co-pay to $10 for up to 24 months. Pamphlets are available through sales reps or the patient can request a card here.
Invokana – The first 4 months free then $5 for up to 12 months.
Insulin: free trial voucher for one pack of 5 pens of Humalog, Humalog Mix 75/25 or Humalog Mix 50/50 KwikPens; 1 box of 5 Humalog cartridges or 1 vial of Humalog, Humalog Mix 75/25 or Humalog Mix 50/50. Patients can go here for information.
Janumet XR, Janumet, Januvia – as little as $5 out-of-pocket for up to 12 months. Patients can activate a card here or visit here to obtain a new card or replacement.
Levemir – Pay no more than $25 for up to 2 years.
NovoLog – Reduces co-pay to $20 for up to 2 years.
Victoza – Reduces co-pay to $25 for up to 24 months + a free box of pen needles if the person signs up for VictozaCare, an online support tool.
Combined the Rx Savings Program for all their products into one card that can be obtained by the sales representative: includes Apidra, Lantus and their new U-300 insulin, Toujeo. However, can still individually obtain savings for each product from the following sites:
Apidra – No co-pay saving card (up to $100 per prescription) for use for one year.
Lantus – Pay no more than $25 (maximum benefit of $100 per prescription).
Toujeo — Pay no more than $15 (maximum benefit of $400 per prescription).
Glumetza – eVoucherRx that is instantly activated at many pharmacies to reduce the co-pay to $10.
Tanzeum – Updated offer for them with a savings card that makes the medication free for 12 months.
RxAssist provides a comprehensive database of pharmaceutical assistance programs.
NeedyMeds.org has information on pharmaceutical and healthcare assistance programs.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need for free or nearly free.
RxHope is a web-based resource that acts as a facilitator in helping people obtain medications for free or for a small co-pay.
Benefits Check Up
BenefitsCheckUp is a service of the National Council on Aging that has information on benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. Seniors can search for programs that help them pay for prescription drugs as well as health care, rent, utilities and other needs.
Encourage medical colleagues and patients to use this list to help offset medication costs, as well as look for other available programs.
We would like to hear about other prescription RX programs. Please feel free to comment in the section below so we can share it with others.
- American Diabetes Association. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the US. Diabetes Care. 2012.
- Akila L et al. Drug utilization study of oral anti-diabetic drugs at a tertiary care (SRM Medical College) hospital in Chennai. Int J Med Res. 2011; 1(3):177-182
- Guidoni CM et al. Prescription patterns for diabetes mellitus and therapeutic implications: a population-based analysis. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab. 2012; 56(2):120-127
- Kannan et al. A study on drug utilization of oral hypoglycemic agents in type-2 diabetic patients. Asian J Pharm Clin Res. 2011; 4(4): 60-64
- Pawaskar et al. Medication utilization patterns among type 2 diabetes patients initiating Exenatide BID or insulin glargine: a retrospective database study. BMC Endocrine Disorders 2013; 13:20-27