How much does olmesartan-HCTZ (Benicar) cost, $771.99 or $6?

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

A friend writes:

So, I have three prescription drugs: two to lower my blood pressure, the other a potassium supplement needed because the two blood pressure medications leach potassium from my body — is this a great country, or what?!

My pharmacy is my nearest grocery store.

I changed my prescription drug plan effective 2021.

Last week, online, I filled out a prescription refill order for the three medications.

Today, I went online to see if they are ready to be picked up. They are.

The charge for the 90-day supply of the potassium pills, potassium chloride extended release 10 meq tablet, was the usual $6.

The charge for the 90-day supply of one of my blood-pressure medications, amlodipine besylate 10 mg tablet (brand name would be Norvasc), was the usual $0.00.

But the charge for the second blood-pressure medication, olmesartan-HCTZ 40-25 mg tablet (brand name would be Benicar HCT), was … $771.99.

Yikes!

Before calling the prescription drug plan to say “Hey?,” I called the grocery store’s pharmacy and explained why I was calling, ending with: “Is that a … mistake?” Without missing a beat, the young pharmacist on the phone said, “Yes, that was a mistake. It’s supposed to be a charge of $6.” (Note: That drug used to be no charge and now is $6. But whatever.)

I asked the young lady how the error could have happened, and she said: “It was put through as a cash payment rather than sent through your insurance” — note: unlike the other two medication refill requests that were submitted at exactly the same time — “I’m very sorry. That must have been quite a shock.”

Errr … yes. Quite a shock. But then again, not really. Because this is the state of health care in ‘mer’ca.

Now, please excuse me while I go to the pharmacy to pick up my medication to lower my blood pressure, which has suddenly spiked.