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Doc APProvED: Prescription Price-Shopping Made Easy

Mohseni, Alex, MD

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000535028.95600.e2
Doc APProvED

Dr. Mohseniis an emergency physician in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. He is the founder ofwww.CMElog.organd the editor of his own blog, http://CreativeHealthLabs.com. Follow him on Twitter @amohseni, and read his past columns athttp://bit.ly/EMN-DocAPProvED.

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The list of burdens carried by emergency physicians is unending. And that's not to mention our responsibility (or at least our desire) to make sure our patients can afford the medications we prescribe. Noncompliance and paucity of funds can transform into medical complications and lawsuits—26 percent of Americans don't fill their prescriptions because they can't afford them. (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. May 2, 2010; http://bit.ly/2H7OqNu.)

Ideally, EMRs, knowing the patient's insurance and formularies, should provide this feedback automatically. If you don't wish to wait another two decades for EMRs to evolve from their current primitive states into truly supportive clinical aids, however, you can use GoodRx.

A free mobile app available on iOS and Android, GoodRx provides current prices for medications in thousands of pharmacies across the United States, including a “cash price” (price without insurance) and a “coupon price” (price with GoodRx's free coupons). When you use the app for the first time, you will find that some generic drugs have a variance of more than 500 percent between different neighborhood pharmacies. The app will show you the exact price at nearby pharmacies and how far each of them is from you.

GoodRx will also allow you to search for prescriptions by condition, and you can see the cheapest medication options for conditions such as cellulitis or UTI easily. The app also has an easy-to-use pill identification section.

GoodRx is one of those tools you'll find yourself using multiple times per shift, especially when a patient without insurance asks you what your medication plan is going to cost him.

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