Consumers get discounted drugs using the discount prescription cards, but who is funding them? Pharmaceutical Companies, Pharmacies, Insurance, etc.?
Basically, there is a transaction fee paid by the pharmacy to the pharmacy benefit manager on all pharmacy transactions normally. These pharmacy discount cards enable consumers to access the PBM-negotiated prices with the pharmacies.
For pharmacies, there is a major loyalty component at play here. While the pharmacy can reject the consumer bearing the prescription discount card to avoid paying the PBM the agreed-upon transaction fee, the consumer has access to shopping and price comparison tools through various channels (example here: Drug Pricing – Prescription Discount Card by Discount Drug Network – Our Prescription Discount Card Helps People Save Money on Prescription Drugs) and the consumer will simply take their business to the pharmacy that accepts the discount card and gives them the discount. Like any coupon offer, honoring this discount is a great strategy to bring customers in the door who can buy other products, an important source of revenue and profit for any retail pharmacy.
We find that most pharmacies have a very clear understanding of how prescription discount card work and that they embrace them readily. Like anything, there will always be misunderstandings and exceptions, but no one wants to see patients taken advantage of by paying exorbitant out-of-pocket cash prices for drugs because they don’t have insurance or because their insurance doesn’t cover that particular drug in formulary. That is what many consider “being on the wrong side of history”.