Improving Medication Adherence Through Drug Discount Cards

Improving Medication Adherence Through Drug Discount Cards

Medication nonadherence is responsible for at least 125,000 avoidable deaths per year in the United States (U.S) – that is about 342 deaths every day. Compare that to a large plane crashing daily, and no one on board survived. According to one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, about “3.8 billion prescriptions are written every year” and nonadherence is costing the U.S. healthcare sector over “$100 billion annually.”

Nonadherence occurs when patients do not take their medications as prescribed by their healthcare providers. Data from the National Health Interview Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2017, nearly 60% of U.S. adults between the ages of 18–64 reported being prescribed medications within the last 12 months. About 70% of the prescribed medications had an out-of-pocket cost for patients. Out-of-pocket cost has led to some patients applying the principle of opportunity cost: forgoing their medications as the alternative.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Chairman of Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on “Drug Pricing in America” in February 2019, stated that people are now “skipping doses of their prescription drugs to make them last until the next paycheck.” Senator Grassley’s statement is evident in our daily interaction with patients struggling to pay for their medications. Rationing lifesaving medications due to cost could significantly impair therapeutic outcome in patients.

As we continue to find viable solutions – enacting laws that promote fair competition and generic drug entry into market – to the high cost of prescription drugs in America, one aspect often overlooked is informing patients with or without insurance to try a prescription savings card or manufacturer’s coupon that could save them up to 80% on their medications. This concept is not different from trying to find a coupon to save on products before going on a grocery shopping. However, it is important to note that drug savings cards should not be mistaken as an insurance, but could help patients save on drug cost, reduce healthcare expenditure and improve overall adherence rate due to high out-of-pocket cost.

There are various prescription savings programs available to patients at no cost and one of the pioneers of these programs is NeedyMeds – a national nonprofit organization and one of the nation’s largest prescription assistance program providers.

Chalice Pharmaceuticals – a company with the mission to deliver high quality products that save lives at the most affordable prices – in partnership with NeedyMeds is offering anyone a savings card that could be used in over 65,000 pharmacies across the U.S including major chains. Unlike other programs where you must search for individual drug and submit personal information before receiving a card, the Chalice – NeedyMeds card is one card fits all. The card is available free-of-charge and no fees or registration is required to download or receive a card in the mail. Once you have the card, it can be shared with family and friends and used as often as needed because there is no usage limitation and it never expires. Click here to download a copy of the card.

With the Chalice – NeedyMeds savings card, all prescription medications are eligible for savings, including over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies written as a prescription, as well as human-equivalent pet medications prescribed by a veterinarian. You can save up to 40% off durable medical equipment, including canes, crutches, splints, incontinence supplies and more. You can also save on diabetic supplies such as glucose meters, test strips, lancets and diabetic shoes.

You can use the card instead of your insurance if the card offers a better price than your copay or drug is not covered by your insurance or your insurance has no drug coverage or you have a high drug deductible or you are in the Medicare Part D donut hole or you have met a low medicine cap. But it cannot be combined with state or federal insurance.

To download a copy of the card, go to, click on the “Services” icon on the homepage, and then click on “Prescription Savings” to get your free card.

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