Ohio limits prescription transfers
Planning ahead and comparing prices will save money
As of Jan. 1, 2011, Ohioans are allowed to transfer a prescription from one pharmacy to another just once per year. The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy made the change after pharmacists complained about the potential for miscommunication during transfers, as well as unnecessary paperwork.
Many pharmacies offer incentives for patients to transfer their prescriptions to them, such as $10 coupons or even $25 gift cards. Many people frequently transfer their prescriptions to get a deal each time they need a refill because it saves money.
The new rule is about patient safety, according to advocates of the rule. Transferring prescriptions multiple times can lead to miscommunication among pharmacists that could bring errors that hurt patients. Patients could get the wrong medications, at the wrong strength or the directions could be wrong. Pharmacists also have complained that it takes a lot of their time to deal with prescription transfers, and many are transferred solely because of the coupons.
Critics of the new rule say that it limits competition among retailers and benefits retail drug chains, like Walgreens and CVS.
If a transfer is within the same computer system, such as from one CVS pharmacy location in Ohio to another CVS pharmacy in Florida, it does not count as a transfer under the new rule. Consumers who winter over in other states, or who travel frequently, should ask their pharmacist about in-network transfers. Similarly, consumers should talk to their doctors, who may opt to write two prescriptions - one for each location, or suggest other options.
To save money on prescriptions and find the best deals, consumers should shop around before they fill their prescriptions, instead of hopping between pharmacies to get an incentive. Consumers can save hundreds of dollars by comparing the price at different pharmacies, especially for name brand drugs.
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