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SARASOTA, Fla., June 1, 2009— Like many Americans, Janice Abbott worried about the cost of prescription drugs. Thanks to a news story, she recently discovered a new service that helped her save more than $2,000.

Abbott, known as “Jay” to her friends, read about EquivaMeds.com in her local newspaper and decided to try it out. EquivaMeds is a new consumer-information service created by a physician and a healthcare technology company based in Sarasota, Florida. It uses a proprietary process to help consumers research prescription drugs that treat the same conditions as the most heavily marketed drugs, often at significant savings. Patients can then discuss the options with their own doctors and, if the doctor concurs, fill the new prescriptions at their own pharmacies.

Abbott says her doctors are knowledgeable about medications but don’t know what her cost will be when they prescribe. “My doctor said ‘I had no idea it was that expensive,’” she said.

After entering prescriptions from her three doctors into the EquivaMeds system, Abbott directed EquivaMeds to forward the recommendations to two of her doctors and decided to review the report with her third physician in person at an upcoming office visit. Abbot says she was pleasantly surprised when the first two doctors quickly concurred with the system’s recommendations and changed her prescriptions immediately. The third doctor was also happy to review the recommendations and suggested yet another therapeutic alternative, resulting in successful savings.

Abbott is already on track to save $1,488 per year on her prescriptions. After she depletes her existing supply of one additional drug, she will add $684 to that total. To date, all of the medications she has switched to have been effective with no adverse side effects. The medications recommended by EquivaMeds are proven drugs that have been on the market and prescribed for years.

A retired dental office receptionist on Medicare Part D, Abbott and her husband, who works full-time but is without employer-sponsored prescription coverage, say the difficulty in comparing formularies only adds to the challenge of finding affordable ways to get the medications they need. She says EquivaMeds identified savings which other sources don’t provide, simplified their decision-making and took some of the strain off of her monthy budget.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she says. “Now I’m sharing my experience with all my friends.”

EquivaMeds costs $19.95 for a single report or $24.95 for a one-year subscription, with a full refund available if the system can’t show the consumer how to save at least $120 per year. Consumers can print a report to discuss with their doctors or, if they are uncomfortable with the subject, EquivaMeds can contact the doctor on the patient’s behalf using an automated fax system. Either way, the physician’s role is respected throughout the process. The doctor makes the final decision and writes the prescription.

The average user on long-term maintenance medications will see recommendations to save about $893 per year without changing doctors or pharmacies. Over 95% of the physicians receiving recommendations from EquivaMeds consumers approve the changes.

EquivaMeds works using a unique database of medication classes and costs that represents the various medications physicians can prescribe for similar conditions. This new process identifies many more options and savings opportunities than the typical brand-to-generic comparison methods.  

Before EquivaMeds, the typical way a physician could help a patient with the cost of brand-name prescription drugs was to use free samples. When doctors sense that a patient has financial difficulty, they often reach for the sample closet. Although they wish to help, they end up sending patients home with a free start to a prescription regimen they can’t afford to sustain.

To learn more or try the free savings calculator, visit www.equivameds.com or call 866.977.3637.

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