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CVS Charges More for Generic Drugs Paid for With Insurance

A lawsuit filed by a California woman claims that CVS pharmacy charges people with insurance more for prescription generic drugs than it does those without insurance, NBC News reports. The suit claims that CVS didn’t inform the woman that paying cash would have cost less than using her insurance — only $92 compared to the $165.68 she ended up paying. The problem stems from the way pharmacies and the intermediaries that negotiate prices with insurance companies operate, often leading to insurance co-pays that are more than direct-pay costs.

This news comes on the heels of a Chicago Tribune investigation that found CVS fared the worst when it came to pharmacies dispensing drug combinations that could result in stroke, kidney failure, oxygen deprivation, unintended pregnancy, birth defects and other health risks. What’s worse, CVS isn’t the only pharmacy that does this this.

The Tribune investigated 255 pharmacies, and found that 52 percent handed out dangerous drug combinations. Kmart and Costco were close behind CVS, with a 60 percent failure rate, while Walmart failed to warn patients of dangerous drug interactions 43 percent of the time. Only time can tell whether lawsuits or newspaper investigations will prompt pharmacies to change the way operate. That’s why addressing your health now, so you can avoid prescription drugs, is more necessary than ever.

If you're already on prescription drugs, drug safety needs to become a priority, especially since the 21st Century Cures Act relaxes FDA standards and makes it easier for experimental drugs and vaccines to come to market without being adequately tested for safety. Doctors need better methods to prevent prescribing dangerous drug combinations, pharmacies need stricter monitoring programs to prevent dangerous combinations from being distributed and patients need to take control of their own health.

Every time you take a medication, ask your doctor and your pharmacist about the side effects and whether it's safe to take with any other medications or supplements you're currently taking. Ultimately, however, reducing your reliance on prescription and over-the-counter drugs is your best protection against drug interactions, and this is done foundationally, by leading a healthy lifestyle and taking control of your health.
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