As COVID-19 continues to impact every aspect of the healthcare and financial sectors, consumers around the country are confronting an uncertain economic climate while also addressing some familiar challenges—including the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs.
According to new data released today from Rx Savings Solutions, the market-leading tool for pharmacy transparency, 67% of consumers feel a lack of control over their prescription drug costs.
In a first-of-its-kind survey of 700 American consumers—all of whom use prescription drugs—Rx Savings Solutions examined the intersection of COVID-19 and prescription drug affordability and offers key insight into how people are making decisions on important healthcare matters. According to the survey, most respondents (74%) are still seeing their prescription drug costs rise—or remain at the same high levels. With that stat expected to trend upwards into 2021, 29% say they will use a price transparency tool, 24% will talk to their healthcare provider about lower-cost alternatives, and 22% say they will switch or continue to use home delivery services.
Serving more than 8 million members nationwide, Rx Savings Solutions' clinical technology contains over 30,000 unique and dose-adjusted prescription drug suggestions, used to drive proven savings results for clients and their members, including 42 FORTUNE 500 leading companies. Using an online portal or mobile app, Rx Savings Solutions members can submit a new prescription request to their provider with one click. On average, members who switch to a lower-cost drug save $45 out of pocket, per fill.
Among other key findings, Rx Savings Solutions found that of all the ways people are changing their behavior in response to the pandemic, 46% switched to mail-order or 90-day fills due to COVID-19 and to reduce their prescription costs. One in four skipped doses or rationed their fills. Thirty-one percent experienced a medication that was out of stock at the pharmacy and 17% experienced a delay in their mail-order prescription delivery.
In 2020, Rx Savings Solutions analyzed 69 million member prescription claims, finding almost $2 billion in addressable prescription drug savings. Of that savings opportunity, about 22% is out-of-pocket opportunity for the consumer.
"Last year was one like no other. But amid all the uncertainty, we found an opportunity to engage with consumers around the country and get their insight on some important topics that impact their health as well as their bottom lines," said Michael Rea, a clinical pharmacist who founded and currently leads Rx Savings Solutions. "We can certainly empathize with the confusion and helplessness so many people feel when filling their prescriptions—it's our goal to ease that pain. With our solution, members are in the driver's seat when they're shopping for medications."
When asked who should be responsible for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, survey respondents were largely split—41% to 40%—looking either to the government or pharmaceutical companies.
"One thing that remains consistent, even with the backdrop of a pandemic, is healthcare costs are still going up. It's more clear now than ever—people want to know their options when managing their prescription drugs," added Rea.