Based on information from Transplant Awareness Inc.
Immunosuppression drugs are very expensive and the cost varies from one pharmacy to another. Insurance companies rarely apply “customary charge” guidelines to pharmacies as they do to hospitals and doctors, so be sure you are getting the best value for your money. Even if insurance is paying the bill, be careful. Many health insurance policies have a lifetime cap so be mindful of these limits when purchasing drugs. It is not unusual to have an annual drug bill of $8,000 to $12,000.
In addition to cost issues, here are some things to think about when selecting a pharmacy.:
Is a pharmacist available to answer questions?
Are you responsible for co-payment, or will the pharmacy waive it?
Will the pharmacist bill Medicare and/or private insurance companies?
Will the pharmacy complete the insurance claim forms and wait for reimbursement or will you have to pay up-front?
Does the pharmacy routinely stock cyclosporine (Sandimmune & Neoral) and Prograf? If not, how much notice does it require to get it?
Does the pharmacy deliver free of charge?
Are the pharmacy hours convenient for you?
How long is the turnaround time from when the pharmacy receives the prescription to when you receive the medication? Consider this factor especially if you use a mail order pharmacy.
Many mail order pharmacies score well on the questions above. Some are active supporters of transplantation and publish regular newsletters for transplant recipients. Many waive the co-pay, up to 20%.
American Preferred Plan 800-227-1195
APP provides links to community resources and national support networks.
Chronimed provides the “Transplant Support Group Directory” and other educational and support materials.
Continental Health Care & Lifesource Integrated Services 15673 NEO Parkway
Cleveland, OH 44128
Express Pharmacy Services P.O. Box 94999
Birmingham, AL 35220-9989
HMI Pharmacy Services P.O. Box 29423
New York, NY 10087-9387
HMI Maryland, Inc. 5500 Hartford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214 800-464-6080
Stadtlander’s Pharmacy 600 Penn Center Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Stadtlander’s publishes LifeTimes quarterly. Free to customers.
Sears Health Trends (call for local pharmacy location and address for Mail Orders)
Customer Service Department
P. O. Box 24843
Omaha, NE 68124-0843
800-955-2560 For mail order pharmacy or location of nearby local participating pharmacies, call 800-374-MEDS (800-374-6337)
AARP Pharmacy Service Center Department 992172
P.O. Box 40011
Roanoke, VA 24022-9911
800-456-7821 For those age 50 and over, or with a family member age 50 or over. There is an annual membership fee.
A hint on refills: ask your doctor for refill prescriptions of 100 pills or capsules, rather than a monthly (30 day) supply. The savings can be worthwhile. But be aware that as you progress through your recovery, many of your medications will be changed, reduced or eliminated altogether. So before refilling a 100 pill prescription, make sure to check whether you will be taking the medication long enough to use it all. Otherwise, you’ll be flushing a lot of unused and expensive drugs down the drain.