A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Facebook post from an acquaintance of mine lamenting about the exorbitant price of Suboxone. I’d known her to have a problem with opiates in the past, but it seemed like she was doing all the right things to get her life back on track. Yet, the high cost of her medication was now jeopardizing her sobriety.
Was she just supposed to go cold turkey and hope for the best? Was she just supposed to throw all her hard recovery work out the window? It really made me wonder, knowing she was more than likely unable to continue affording the monthly payments for her medication.
With my curiosity piqued, I decided to look into the cost of Suboxone and found that prices were, indeed, pretty unreasonable for the average user.
The High Cost of Sobriety
According to sites, I found online, the average retail price for each dose can range from $4-19 per day, with the lower end being for those who have an accepted form of health insurance. Patients who don’t have health coverage, however, can expect to pay approximately $500 per month for treatment, which includes the cost of the medication, plus the cost of doctor’s visits.
Needless to say, this is a high price to pay each month and undoubtedly creates a financial strain in most people’s lives. But the good news is that there are ways to lower the overall cost of Suboxone – and we’ve got seven tips to help you do just that:
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Copay Cards: Patients can get discounts on out-of-pocket brand-name product costs, such as Bunavil and Zubsolv. The copay cards can be printed from the manufacturer’s websites, and once presented to the pharmacist, can be used to cover all or part of the insurance copay or to save money for those paying cash. See websites for details and restrictions.
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s FREE Meds Program: The manufacturers of Suboxone products (Suboxone Film and Zubsolv) have launched patient assistance programs (PAP) to help low-income patients afford their medication. Believe it or not, many patients qualify to receive free medication for up to a year. Check the company website for rules and restrictions.
- Marketing and Academic Research Opportunities: Occasionally, research firms want to survey patients in Suboxone treatment in return for compensation. Payment ranges from $25-$100 (depending on the length of the survey) and participant information is typically kept anonymous. Websites like NAABT.org post listings of opportunities once they become available and are verified as legitimate. Definitely worth checking out!
- Third-Party Prescription Discount Cards: There are a number of discount cards available from sources like AAA, large pharmacy chains and discount prescription websites. Each card has its own conditions, terms and discount rates.
- Partial Prescription Dispensing: If you can’t afford to buy an entire month’s prescription at once, you can ask the pharmacy for a partial dispensing. Although this doesn’t actually save any money, it may be a way to afford treatment without having to shell out a large chunk of money for the entire prescription.
- Clinical Trials and Studies: This can be a source of both free medication and free medical care, although you will be subject to whatever conditions are set up for the study. Go to www.clinicaltrials.gov and look for open label Phase IV studies, which means the medication is already FDA-approved.
- Negotiate With the Provider: Patients may be able to negotiate a lower price with their physician or counselor. You might want to ask your doctor to prescribe a generic form of Suboxone. Or maybe you can save some cash by purchasing the 2mg strips, as opposed to the 8mg strips. Talk to your provider and explain you’re looking to save money on the medication. You might be surprised by all the options available.
Additional Reading: Recovery Roundtable: Should Doctors Be Allowed to Prescribe More Suboxone? , treatment-without-insurance
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