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Florida law change on July 1 may save you big money on prescription medicine

Posted at 8:41 AM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 20:17:56-04

Sticker shock at the pharmacy is likely something many in Florida can relate to.

Even if you have insurance, the cost of prescription medicine is often described as astronomical.

RELATED: Website gives Florida residents prescriptions without visiting doctor's office

However, a change to Florida law that takes effect July 1 may save you some major cash. 

Currently pharmacists are not allowed to tell you if it is cheaper to pay cash or run your medication through insurance. It’s often called the “gag clause.”

“It's a sin. People can't afford it. It's a problem,” said Florida resident Richard Micciche.

That all changes on July 1 in Florida.

At Center City Pharmacy in downtown West Palm Beach, they look forward to this new transparency.

“Prior to July 1, all pharmacies, if the patient told you they had insurance, commercial or private insurance, pharmacies were required to bill the insurance,” said pharmacist Misti Curcio.

Now, this summer your pharmacist can tell you if it's cheaper to pay cash than run your medication through insurance.

“It's actually giving the pharmacies and patients the option of either using their insurance or having the cash option, which might be a lower co-pay. Your co-pay could be $, but if it's $80, and we can sell you the medication for $24.99, it's better for the patient’s budget,” said Curcio.

Pharmacists say it's a wait and see in terms of specific drug prices.

“There are certain medications where it will not be better to use cash option, especially if it's the newer drugs that don’t have generics,” said Curcio.

But they know more patients will pick up medication left sitting on pharmacy shelves for months -- previously unable to pay.

“In this area, we have a lot of families in the lower income budget, so we would be able to help them with their seizure medication. We would be able to help with blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication,” said Curcio.

It’s a positive change for your pocket and this pharmacist's peace of mind.

“It does make me feel better as a pharmacist knowing that they can walk away, they can get their medication and if they are really sick they can be treated and be able to afford it,” Curcio.

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