Prescription Discount Cards are programs offering cash patients a way to lower the price of their medications. Prescription Discount Cards are generally produced and administered by prescription discount companies who create Bin and Group numbers, print cards and distribute them to the patients to be used to process cash claims. Essentially, when a cash patient comes into a pharmacy with a Prescription Discount Card, the pharmacist is to process the Prescription Discount Card through their software system, and the Prescription Discount Card will reduce the cash price. Some Prescription Discount Card companies require a patient to register or sign up beforehand and will issue a personalized card. Others are simply printable and are identical from patient to patient.
Prescription Discount Cards are put in the hands of patients through various sources of distribution. Prescription Discount Card companies utilize physicians, municipal and county governments, non-profit groups, free clinics, paid marketers, and even pharmacies to distribute the cards and promote the programs. In addition, certain Prescription Discount Card programs are administered by PBMs, and can be used by members for drugs which are not covered under the plan’s formulary. An example of this is a PBM Prescription Discount Card covering hair growth medication, barbiturates or erectile dysfunction drugs, which are excluded from coverage under Medicare Part D. Some major discount cards work closely with PBMs and major chain store to utilize the dispensing data to market their services and drive traffic to their store and increase utilization of the cards which benefits them all.
When discount cards are used at any pharmacy, the PBM charges administrative fee which ranges from $2 to $6 per claim. Aside from the discount the patient received the administrative fees can really add up to hundreds of dollars each month.
When discount cards programs are used correctly by community pharmacies and marketed correctly utilizing the dispensing data to aid local store marketing
, it can significantly improve sales and increase loyalty to the store.