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Anne Cloward

An unexpected jump in prescription costs forced retiree to become a savvy shopper

retired technical writer and trainer, savvy shopper

I’m not new to diabetes. I am a fourth-generation diabetic. My great-grandmother was diagnosed with it in the 1920s and she was one of the first people in the United States on insulin. She had 14 children, three who died stillborn of gestational diabetes. Of the 11 surviving, all of them were eventually diagnosed as diabetic. So, I knew a lot about it when I got it and I wasn’t terribly surprised when I got the diagnosis from my doctor.

That was 15 years ago. I manage my diabetes with diet, exercise and oral medication. I have not had to take any insulin yet, which to me is a big victory.

I had this medication that was giving me indigestion, so I switched to a well-known oral medication that’s been around at least 10 years. I was getting it at a local “big box” pharmacy that always advertises their prices are the lowest in the area. I had it for about three months at $50 a month. The new year came and all of a sudden the price was $250 for the same bottle of pills, a 30-day supply. I worked with my supplemental care provider to get a 90-day supply, using a drug benefit to reduce the cost to $145 and that was manageable.

But then my doctor wanted me to try a different prescription. I was getting it for free as a trial. When I went online to find out how much it was going to cost through my insurer, they offered me a 90-day supply for $1,032. Now, I don’t know about other people, but I live on a very modest pension and an additional $300 a month would completely wipe me out.

The thing I learned was to keep looking. I knew that if I went online and started Googling, I would find something. I know that every major insurance company, especially those that serve seniors, will have a website where you can research the best prices.

My advice to people is to look around. There are some programs available to people to help get reduced-cost prescriptions. If at all possible, we use a generic which really does save a lot of money.

“I live on a very modest pension and an additional $300 a month would completely wipe me out.”