The National Alliance of Advocates
for Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®3, Zubsolv™4, Probuphine®5) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician's office.1 Buprenorphine can be dispensed for take-home use, by prescription.1 This, in addition to the pharmacological and safety profile of buprenorphine, makes it an attractive treatment for patients addicted to opioids.2

15 ways to save money on buprenorphine treatment

Buprenorphine News Add comments

Revised November 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: 12/31/2014

    • Zubsolv® (Bup/Nx)  -  This card provides a $2.50 discount off each tablet (no minimum), toward out-of-pocket costs, up to $225 per use and can be used multiple times per month. Example; a cash paying patient who requires 60 tablets/month would receive $150 discount per month. Expires: 6/30/2015 Sub-to-Zub Dose Converter Calculator

    • Bunavail (Bup/Nx)buccal film  -  With this card your first prescription is FREE (see details). After that, the card can be used to save up to $100 off out of pocket costs exceeding $10. You must provide your name and address to enroll in the discount program. Sub-Bunavail Dose Conversion Calculator

  3. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer's FREE meds program –Some manufacturers of buprenorphine products have launched patient assistance programs (PAP) to help low income patients afford their medication. Some patients qualify for FREE medication for up to a year. Each program have their own procedures, qualification criteria, restrictions and rules. Click to find details about the Suboxone Film PAP and the Zubsolv PAP.

  4. 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. and will post listings of opportunities once they become available and are verified as legitimate.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 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

  7. 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

  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

15 responses to “15 ways to save money on buprenorphine treatment ”

  1. Wally Hunsucker Says:
    I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thx again
  2. a sober way home Says:
    I'm very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that's at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.
  3. Mark Button Says:
    I am really glad also that you printed this. Most people do not realize that these two drugs, buprenorphine & naloxone have been around for decades, and was relatively inexpensive until a pharmaceutical company figured out they could make incredible dollars by helping out addicts who so desperately need this medication.

    Some studies suggest that the price of these two medications, combine into Suboxone, sell for over 28 TIMES the original amount of each drug separately, Shame on them!!!

    I am all for R & D, and charging Americans 20 times what other countries pay, but this is WAY out of bounds!

    Any comments on that one?
  4. Christian Says:
    fyi - I read the insert that's included in each suboxone rx and it states that any Doctor can prescribe it for off label use, like pain. Can someone please confirm this? If that's the case why is it that Doctors are not aware of this?
  5. Tony Wayne Says:
    I have been paying for my girlfriend to receive treatment, paying for her meds and supporting her the best way I know how. This medicine is "breaking" me. Is there help available for ME? I would view any help as a godsend!!!
  6. trina hopson Says:
    Liked it alot and need ti save cause i can not afford my meds
  7. Chris Says:
    I was just switched to Zubsolv because it was supposedly "much cheaper" then the Suboxone film strips LMAO!! Turns out Zubsolv is exact same price, yet is a lower milligram, thus making it actually more expensive. These greedy fucks at these drug companies are making a killing on these medications. I wouldn't care if they were taxing the insurance companies and making them pay more, but they are obviously fully aware most insurance companies will not cover Suboxone, Zubsolv treatment(which is a whole other ridiculous conversation). Bottom line if you want Suboxone treatment be ready to pay about $1000 per month to get it!
  8. wendy Says:
    That is can be prescribed for off label use. I have had that done in the past and my husband gets it that way.
  9. danielle Says:
    Where u live and pay that much I have no idea... but maybe u should shop around better. Just paid 280 for 75 8mg ... and insurance does cover it... just have to wait thru pre-auth period. Do better research. My husband only had to pay this month because they lapsed his insurance at work. It'll be covered again next month. Mine has been covered for going on 3 years now.
    Don't listen to the ppl saying it's not worth it and costs too much....they obviously didn't take time to look into all the help plus insurance out there.
    Also...even on insurance Co pay, there are cards that make at least every other month free, sometimes every month. So... go do the leg work and you'll be fine.
  10. rvc Says:
    On suboxone myself just changed jobs, lost my insurance. Dr was costing $25 copay and about $130 for script after $50 suboxone discount card. Had my appointment with dr yesterday cost $150 and called diff. Pharms script of 60 sub films was about $550 give or take few bucks with diff. Pharms. Told dr. He switched to bunavail, they offer 1st month free script with discount card bunavail offers then $100 off monthly and I'm told bunavail 4.2 mg is $3 cheaper each film and it equals same as 8mg sub. I thought how does 4.2mg equal 8mg? Subs seem to melt in mouth all over and you swallow most but these bunavails absorb better, can barely taste on side of cheek not through whole mouth like suboxone. Got to say seems like works great and the bunavail taste is way better. Switch you won't regret!
  11. Botdos Says:
    Hey can anyone confirm a ridiculous of suboxone film in the past month or so? Beginning of Dec. half script (15 8m films) cost me around $100. I went to get the other half couple days ago and they wanted over $300.. Can anyone shed some light on that?
  12. Charles Roberts, M.D. Says:
    Thank you for providing this information. It is valuable and will help more patients get into recovery.
    In response to Chris. Yes any physician with prescriptive authority can prescribe buprenorphine off label. Not all physicians know this, and many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians also don't know. I recall spending a lot of time when I was taking care of a pain patient that needed suboxone trying to explain to a pharmacy staff that I was within full right to prescribe it for pain. They argued with me and declined to fill the script. It was only after I threatened with calling the state pharmacy board that they did more research and found I was able to prescribe for that purpose. Other than a pain related diagnosis or addiction related diagnoses, I can't see why any physician would prescribe the medicine. I am addiction board certified and use all three formulations of the medicine to help patients in recovery. I have found them all to be equally efficacious.
    While Zubsolv has a lower milligram doseage, if you draw blood samples from a Zubsolv patient and a patient taking either suboxone or generic bupren/naloxone, they will all have roughly the same amount in their blood stream. This is because zubsolv has a special formulation so more of the pill is absorbed into the blood stream, whereas with the other medicines a greater portion is not absorbed and passes through the digestive tract unabsorbed. At least this is my understanding based on reading of literature.
    The cost of all these medications are quite high. Our society as a whole would do much better if they were available at a more reasonable price. However, I've had patients who routinely spent $200-$300 a day on their opioid addictions and are much happier paying for the buprenorphine medications and having a real life. The costs are high, but they (pharma companies) are businesses and their goal is to produce, sell a product and maximize profits. Most all businesses are economically driven. Some of the companies try to help by offering discounts and this is a good start. Some companies will even provide a year of free medicines and I've had a patient on such a program and that patient remains clean to this day.
    For Tony, if you can work with your provider maybe you can get your girlfriend into on of the Patient Assistance Programs that allow a period of free meds. Alternatively with some of my well established patients with a long history of compliance and sobriety I will consider use of Subutex, which is significantly cheaper. Most providers will not use Subutex because it doesn't contain Naloxone and has a much greater potential for abuse and diversion (illegally selling or trading of the medicine, a felony crime).

    My biggest complaint comes with some of the Insurance companies who deny me payment for seeing patients and getting them in a better place. It can be very rough on providers and I know a lot of doctors want nothing to do with helping addiction. It is a sad commentary on our society that there is such little understanding and patiece with a disease that can affect anyone and affects so many more than we will ever know.

    Hope this helps.
  13. christopher garrett Says:
    I Have a question how can I get my dr. to submit a request form for my insurance to pay for my sublingual films. the dr.s office filled out the form wrong in December thus I had to pay out of pocket but before December I was paying the copay, The insurance company said there was a "glitch" in the damn system so I wasn't suppose to get the films for the copay price can anyone help me resolve this matter any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  14. jimmy ford Says:
    This medication truly saved my life,my family,and my familys future! I went from homeless,jobless,and family had left to getting treatment then was able to get a job,buy us a home,a car and support my family.I know i have a long road ahead of me but atleast i know where im headed now.without this medication i dont think i would be alive and if i were it wouldnt be much of a life to be living
  15. elana sims Says:
    Dr.Roberts I have been on suboxone and subutex for almost 6 years now and I've never relapsed I've also had surgeries while in treatment. I've got many chronic pain issues I will have until I die and choose subutex instead of pain killers and now my doctor is telling everyone that he can no longer write for pain and we can no longer take subutex in TN do you know if any such legislation has been passed I can't find info anywhere. A law has been passed for babies being born addicted which I think is great but my meds already cost so much that's why I'm prescribed both its easier for me to pay.

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The Purpose of Buprenorphine Treatment:

To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment is a non-profit organization charged with the mission to:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Talk Paper, T0238, October 8, 2002, Subutex and Suboxone approved to treat opiate dependence.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 40. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 04-3939. Rockville, Md: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004.
  3. Subutex Discontinued in the US market in late 2011.
  4. Zubsolv (bup/nx sublingual tablet) FDA approved 7/3/2013 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  5. Bunavail (bup/nx bucal film) FDA approved 6/6/2014 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  6. Probuphine FDA approved 5/26/2016 - FDA Probuphine press release