Transparency? Let’s start with Pharmacy

There is a new web service called bidrx.com. They aspire to be a website that links consumers with pharmacies, manufacturers, prescribers and payers so all can make better decisions when purchasing prescription drugs. I am familiar with them because they are based in my part of Northeast Wisconsin.

I have long thought that we could really provide our patients with a service by providing them information regarding what local pharmacies are charging for the medications that we are about to prescribe for them. Because electronic prescribing systems fax/transmit the prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, we are forcing patients to choose a pharmacy without having the information they need to make a good buying decision.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could imbed bidrx.com’s technology/information in an electronic prescribing system? So instead of choosing that pharmacy based upon convenience, the patient could also consider price (which could vary by $100 for something like a dose of lamisil).

That was the idea that I floated past an e-prescribing developer. But he pointed out that their SureScripts agreement from steering patients to a particular pharmacy. The road to remaking healthcare is filled with obstacles like this. The pharma industry is especially good at putting up roadblocks. Health plans don’t even know the unit cost of the medications that the pay for. They just get one big bill from the Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). There is a lot of trust and little transparency.

3 thoughts on “Transparency? Let’s start with Pharmacy

  1. I beleive patients are going demand these types of services not only for prescriptions, but for all healthcare services. I worked on a project many years that was a proposal for a Integrated Health Care Data System. (RIDN). I had suggested an on-line Estimate module for patients. Well on Good Morning America this AM, I now see the craze of Walk-in medical clinics are popping up in pharmacies and retail stores around the country as an alternative to doctors’ offices, they advertise specific costs of services, physical $ 45. Walk-in clinics are incredibly convenient. Patients can see a nurse practitioner and get a prescription. About 20 feet away, patients can fill that prescription at the pharmacy.
    http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/PrescriptionForChange/story?id=2586216&page=1

  2. If consumers are utilizing on-line Price-at-the-Pump, Why wouldn’t they click on Bidrx. I have priced around medications including on-line pharmacies. However most patients never think about transfering the prescription, or we feel the pressure to get it filled right away. The link from e-prescribing is the answer.

  3. BidRx.com has an electronic prescription order capability within the website so the desired embedding has occured already. When prescribers register and log in, they can use BidRx.com to learn about similar drug products, prices, clinical and therapeutic information in lay language, manufacturer information, product samples, services available from pharmacies, competitive bids from participating pharmacies, and more. When patients invite prescribers to access their private BidRx.com web space, benefit coverage, electronic records of prescriptions filled using BidRx.com pharmacies and electronic prescribing capability are available also. And BidRx is free for prescribers and consumers. Transparency, interoperability, head-to-head competition, and electronic Rx ordering are a healthy beginning to transformation of the prescription process. All are available only at http://www.bidrx.com.

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