NORTH TEXAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) – The cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. can often leave families in a financial bind, especially if they do not have medical insurance.
Charles Dawson depends on several medications to treat his high blood pressure and chronic back pain.
“I have a herniated disk,” Dawson said. “I see a back specialist. It could cost thousands of dollars.”
Dawson does not have health insurance and is forced to pay for his appointments and prescriptions out of pocket. He says the prices of his medication increases every year, which causes him to trim his already tight budget.
“I can put [the money for medication] towards bills [and] food for my kids,” Dawson said.
Dawson isn’t alone. A report from Statista shows Texas leads the nation with the highest percentage of uninsured residents. Nationwide, close to one in 10 Americans skip doses to save money, according to the CDC.
For many, medical bills are competing with the rise in cost of groceries, gas, and electricity. In Dallas, HHM Health recently opened its new pharmacy that allows patients to receive medications at a fraction of the retail price.
“[Patients are] able to actually afford their medication and also take care of their family and not have to choose between the two,” Dr. Dr. Riz Islam, director of pharmacy at HHM Health said.
The price difference is life changing. Uninsured diabetes patients who take Ozempic could pay $930 out of pocket. At HHM Health, it costs $7. The medication Eliquis is used for preventing strokes. It’s retailed for $550, at HHM heath it is $45.
Also, two Epipens for allergic reactions usually $635, costs $7. Dr. Islam says it’s possible because HHM Health is a federally qualified health center which allows them to purchase prescription medication at a discounted price from the drug manufacturers.
“This is a great program for patients,” Dr. Islam said. “Even if they do have insurance, they’re able to be seen here and still be able to take advantage of our discounts.”
The major slash in cost gives Dawson some much needed relief.
“I got four medications for $24-$26,” Dawson said.
Money he can now spend providing for his household and his beautiful family.
To get the deals, people must make an appointment to see a doctor at HHM Health in Dallas. Doctors will then fill a patient’s prescription at the pharmacy.
The price of appointments varies. The pharmacy accepts patients with and without insurance and there is a sliding scale fee based on income is for those without insurance.