A first-of-its-kind online pharmacy says it is putting people ahead of profits to save members up to 99% on drug costs.

Scriptco Pharmacy, which recently got licensed in California, takes the true wholesale cost of a drug, and passes it on to the consumer. And as News Channel 3’s Peter Daut discovered, the savings can be extreme.
“It just amazes me there are not more conversations on this,” Palm Springs resident Rita Gonzales said. She is one of millions of Americans who use prescription drugs, and she is constantly searching for ways to save money on them. “I learned about the different coupons you can get, and it makes a big difference,” she said. “You have to really look to see how you can get around things.”

Unlike most pharmacies, Scriptco does not accept insurance. The company says that allows it to cut out the middleman, and set its own prices.

“So how do you make money?” Daut asked Zach Zeller, Scriptco’s co-founder. Zeller answered: “Our memberships. It’s $140 a year, or $50 a quarter. And that’s our only margin. The rest is a net zero. So when we buy a medication for one penny per pill, we sell it for one penny per pill.”

Before joining, you can see exactly how much you might save. Enter your prescription on the Scriptco website, and see the wholesale cost of your medications. It’s free to check, and the site won’t ask for any personal information unless you join. For example, according to the website GoodRx.com, which tracks the cost of prescription drugs, the average retail price for the prostate medication Flomax normally costs about $72 for a 30-day supply. Using their coupons, the cheapest price listed is $1.88. But the Scriptco wholesale price is just $1.20. That’s more than $858 dollars saved a year.

The generic for cholesterol drug Lipitor, Atorvastatin, normally costs about $70 for a 30-day supply. The cheapest price with a GoodRx.com coupon is listed as $1.42. Scriptco sells it for $.54, meaning nearly $840 saved a year. Gleevec, the generic for a cancer drug, has an average retail price of $9,747.47 for a 30-day supply. The cheapest price with a GoodRx.com coupon is listed as $113.94. Scriptco sells it for $37, a savings of nearly $117,000 a year.

According to GoodRx.com: “GoodRx’s cash prices are based on multiple sources, including published price lists, purchases, claims records, and data provided by pharmacies. Our discount and coupon prices are based on contracts between a pharmacy (or pharmacy purchasing group) and a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), who provides prices to us. The prices we show are our best estimate; while we believe our data to be generally accurate, we cannot guarantee that the price we display will exactly match the price you receive at the pharmacy. For an exact price, please contact the pharmacy.”

Dan Leonard is the president of the Association for Accessible Medicines, which advocates for policies that ensure Americans are able to afford their medicines. Daut asked him: “Why is there such a range when it comes to the prices of prescription drugs?” Leonard answered: “The product goes into the drug channel, and then before it gets to the patient it’s touched by a number of different entities in that channel: from the wholesaler to the pharmacy-benefit manager to the pharmacy itself, regulated by the insurance company or medicare. And then when it gets to the patient, it’s often coming out that end at a much higher price.” “Now that I’m on a very fixed income, I have to watch everything,” Rita Gonzales said. Daut typed in her medication on Scriptco, which she says normally costs hundreds a bottle.
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