Pension Life - Winter 2024

Understanding the cost of your prescription drug

Smiling woman at pharmacy counter

Did you know that pharmacies are free to set the markup and dispensing fee they charge, provided they don’t exceed any legislated maximums? As a result, the cost of the same prescription drug can vary widely between pharmacies and even among pharmacies in the same chain.

The total cost of a prescription drug is made up of 3 components:

  • Ingredient Cost – the cost the pharmacy pays the drug company to purchase the drug, also referred to as the Manufacturer’s List Price (MLP). It is the actual cost the pharmacy pays the drug company or wholesaler to buy the drug.
  • Mark Up – the percentage that pharmacies charge to cover the expenses involved in running a pharmacy including a profit margin.
  • Dispensing Fee – the professional fee that the pharmacy charges to have licensed pharmacists dispense drugs, provide patient counselling, review medication records for safety and appropriateness and collaborate with physicians and other health care providers. This amount can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.

Be a savvy consumer…

If possible, shop around and choose a pharmacy that best meets your needs. But pharmacists’ fees can differ greatly from pharmacy to pharmacy – making a big difference in the total cost of the prescription.

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GreenShield provides retired plan members access to optional extended health care and dental coverage. For more information on your plan coverage or online services, please contact GreenShield directly at 1-888-711-1119.

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