15 ways to save money on buprenorphine treatment
- updated May 2014 -
1. Generic buprenorphine sublingual tablets – On February 25, 2013
the FDA approved generic equivalents for Suboxone®(Bup/Nx) sublingual tablets
- (not the film) - in 2mg and 8mg sizes.
In October 2009 generic
Subutex® (Bup) sublingual tablets in 2mg and 8mg sizes were approved. Generic buprenorphine - Buprenorphine Pipeline
2. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer's Copay cards – Patients can get discounts (see websites for minimum purchases, details and restrictions) of out-of-pocket branded product costs. The copay cards can be printed from the manufacturer's websites and presented to the pharmacist. They can be used to cover all or part of the insurance copay or to save cash-paying patients.
- Suboxone Film® (Bup/Nx)  -  $50 off - 14 film minimum, can be used once per month. Example; a patient who requires 60 films/month can get $50 off per month of out-of-pocket costs. Patients prescribed 13 films or less are ineligible for the discount. Expires: 6/30/2014
- Zubsolv® (Bup/Nx)  -  This card provides a $2.50 discount off each tablet (no minimum), toward out-of-pocket costs, up to $75 per use and can be used multiple times per month. Example; a cash paying patient who requires 60 tablets/month can ask the physician for two prescriptions of 30 each and receive a total of $150 ($75 X 2) discount per month. Expires: 12/31/2014
3. Marketing research opportunities – Occasionally, research firms want to survey patients in buprenorphine treatment and often offer some sort of honorarium, usually $50-$150 depending on the length of the survey. These generally take 5-20 minutes to complete. naabt.org and AddictionSurvivors.org will post listings of opportunities once they become available and are verified as legitimate.
4. Buy drug test kits online – Most physicians conduct urine tests for illicit drugs at each office visit.
Often, the urine is sent to a lab for processing, this can be expensive. If the physician is willing, the patient can
purchase drug test kits online for under $10. This could save hundreds depending on how often and how many drugs are tested for.
5. Third-party prescription discount cards – There are a number of discount cards available from sources
like AAA, some pharmacy chains and discount prescription websites. The AddictionSurvivors.org discussion board has an area dedicated to
discussing these cards and gives the opportunity to hear from people who actually used them. Each card has its own conditions, terms and
discount rate. Details
6. Addiction Treatment Insurance – If the physician doesn't accept private insurance, claims can be submitted to the insurer for direct reimbursement. Check the insurer's website for the self-reimbursement forms or contact the insurer's claims department for the proper forms and instructions. Many patients do this successfully as many physicians do not accept insurance. More on insurance
7. Suboxone Film® Manufacturer's free meds program – Each physician may have up to 3 qualifying patients on the free meds program, but the manufacturer limits the total monthly applicants. A physician must also agree to participate in the program. The patient receives a card to present at the pharmacy for the medication, which is an improvement over the old program that shipped the medication to the physician. Details
8. Partial prescription fills – If patients can't afford the entire prescription all at once, they can ask the pharmacy to dispense a partial prescription. This type of partial dispensing should not count as a refill. Although this doesn't actually save any money, it may be a way to afford to stay in treatment when there isn't enough money to purchase the entire prescription.
9. Clinical trials/studies
with buprenorphine– Can be a source of both
free medication and free medical care, although the patient will be subject to whatever conditions are set up in the study. Look for open label Phase IV studies which means the medication is already FDA approved and you will know what medication is being provided.
10. Negotiate with the provider – Patients may be able to negotiate a lower price with their physician or counselor, particularly if you have been a long-term stable patient.
11. Less frequent office visits – As the patient stabilizes, s/he can request to have less frequent office visits. Although physicians commonly require patients to come in for appointments every month to monitor the patient's progress, schedule III medications can be refilled up to 5 times in a 6 month period. Visit frequency is ultimately determined by the physician, but it doesn't hurt to ask, particularly for those stable in long-term addiction remission and those who get therapy or counseling from other sources.
12. Lower buprenorphine dose – If the patient has been stable for several months, s/he may find that a lower dose still suppresses cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Discuss this with the physician, of course, to make sure that no more medication is being taken, and paid for, than is needed to maintain addiction remission. Also, doses above the patient's ceiling dose provide little, if any, additional benefit.
13. Physician Referral fee – Some physicians will provide a referral fee or discount when patients are directly referred to treatment.
14. Methadone Clinics – Some methadone clinics also offer buprenorphine. This varies state to state and clinic to clinic but it may be subsidized in some way and available at reduced cost. However, find out the rules and dispensing criteria for each clinic beforehand, which often initially consists of daily witnessed dosing at the clinic.
15. Shop around – Shopping around for a good value is not what is meant by the term "doctor shopping" which refers to seeing several doctors for the same ailment without the other doctor's knowledge. The intention of "doctor shopping" is to obtain multiple prescriptions, often painkillers, from multiple doctors. Shopping around for a good value is prudent so long as it doesn't delay the commencement of life-saving treatment. One strategy is to begin treatment immediately then search for better value later. See doctor shopping