DECATUR, Ala. - The cost of prescription drugs has risen drastically in recent years and the pharmacist in charge, Lee Henderson, at Pill Box Pharmacy in Decatur explained all the layers beyond the pharmacy to show why the prices are so high.
"A drug may have a $100 copay but it may for some reason cost $600 for me to buy it, which is all because the money is being handed out to so many different places," said Henderson.
But most of that money is going to Pharmacy Benefits Managers, also called, P.B.M.'s.
"P.B.M.'s are out there because we have to have a middle man in order to go between us and the insurance companies," said Henderson.
Henderson said these P.B.M.'s cost consumers a lot of money.
"If a drug costs $20, they're going to pay the pharmacy the $20, but then charge the insurance $40. Then [the P.B.M's] keep the $20 for them, and give the $20 to the pharmacy," said Henderson.
There's nothing controlling these P.B.M.'s.
"The only way this would change is if somebody were actually governing these particular companies who are making these choices," said Henderson.
But there are ways to help yourself from spending too much money at the pharmacy.
- Find out which pharmacy is your insurance's preferred pharmacy.
- Look on your prescription's website for assistance with payments.
- Ask your pharmacists for other options, like generic or similar prescriptions.
"Talk to your pharmacy, talk to them and see if there's any other options because most pharmacists know there are other options out there," explained Henderson.
And if you're struggling to pay for your prescriptions because of these P.B.M.'s, Henderson recommends you give your state representatives a call and ask them how they can work to get these P.B.M.'s governed.
"Talking to the representatives about P.B.M.'s so we can start getting a better education out there of them, and I think it could start being controlled better," Henderson added.
Madison County's State Representative is Mike Ball and you can contact him about this at (334) 261-0483.