Only On 6: Operation RX Drug Hunt

Pharmacy's across Texoma are dealing with prescription drug price hikes. We took a look at pill pricing in some pharmacy's in Wichita Falls to see how they price their drugs, and if they are looking out for you the consumer.

At Wichita Falls Family Practice some patients say their pharmacy bill can really add up in price fast. An issue Doctor Mattar is all to familiar with.

Doctor Matter commented, "Lack of health insurance and financial difficulties is what most people are dealing with. They cannot afford their medication and then don't use their medications."

In a rough economy Doctor Mattar said having a patient not taking their medication and putting their life in danger, is definitely not what he wants. "We are extremely conscience of the cost at our practice. We want to give patients something that is effective but affordable."

Doctor Mattar said when he has the option he will always prescribe a generic form of a medication because it's cheaper.

Newschannel 6 took a look at a commonly prescribe blood thinner drug by the brand name of Coumadin, and its generic form on the market called Warfarin.

"The brand name Coumadin could be about $60 dollars and the generic could go for about   $20." Doctor Matter added, "There are programs that are selling if for $4 for a month."

Newschannel 6 found out pharmacy chains like Walmart and Target sell the generic drug Warfarin for as little as $4 for a months supply. In most cases that's cheaper than a co-pay if you have insurance.

We also called other pharmacy's in the area and asked what the price would be for a person without insurance. Walgreens priced warfarin at $14. Savon Pharmacy priced it at $21.69, offering to drop that price down to $4.99, after buying  their $10 pharmacy card. CVS priced it at $14.79. They also offered a discount price, bringing that down to $10.87.

We headed to an independent pharmacy, Harvest Drug to ask what they priced their Warfarin at. Pharmacist Ginger Pino was able to match the $4 price, the cheapest price chain pharmacy's like Walmart and Target priced theirs at.

Pino said anyone with insurance will have the same co-pay where ever they go get their prescription filled, chain or independent.

"The contract is generally going to be the same between pharmacies, so we don't get to choose what we bill your medicine for." Pino added, "The price is the price based on what the insurance company wants to pay us."

Some chain pharmacy's will provide a cheap medication formula list. That is how Newschannel 6 found the drug Warfarin for $4, but Harvest Drug did match it. "Make sure you give your independent pharmacy a chance." Pino added, "A lot of times they can give you a better price than the chain stores."

Pino said when a person is paying out of pocket that's when they need to price check. When a pharmacy is dealing with a patient without insurance, that's when they can price the drug at whatever they choose. Usually they are going off the average national price.

"If a patience does not have insurance and is in a cash pay situation, that's when you need to shop your prescriptions and shop your prices."  Pino added, "Make sure you're getting the best price for what you are wanting to get."

Being a smart patient can save you money, something Doctor Mattar encourages everyone to do.

Harvest Drug said for the most part it's important that people use and fill their prescriptions at the same pharmacy. Doing this will ensure that if a person is taking multiple medications, the pharmacist will know the drug interactions between your different medications.

Natalie Garcia,   Newschannel 6