How much does Lialda (Mesalamine) cost $ 25, 255, or $ 1,008?

A friend writes:

“What a PIA … I read this article back then … How much time do I spend on it?

“Here it goes – Lialda 1.2g DR Tab – 120 tablets, generic mesalamine
$ 710 retail price at Costco, $ 324.80 with free coupon through Good
$ 517 retail price at CVS, $ 346 with free coupon at GoodRx
$ 1000.24 (“Blink Everyday Low Price”)
$ 1008.85 – Aetna negotiation insurance – I am still deductible – see attachment
I have to go to find the cash price on Walgreens, but I bet it’s around $ 1000.

“Isn’t Aetna and CVS one now? Can’t Aetna negotiate with themselves to get a better price than their retail price?

I answered

Can you let me know what you find out and we can whip up a humble blog post? And can you take screenshots of your searches? We find that prices on Muscle Pain drugs change often. We never documented it, but we hear people get a different price than they expected, and if they don’t have a screenshot, it isn’t always rewarded. OR often not honored.

You may also want to use Lialda. You can qualify.

She answered

“Went to Walgreens. The retail price is $ 752, the price at Aetna insurance is $ 738 (which is lower than the price on the Aetna website – probably because they only have the brand price on the website).

“Attached are screenshots on GoodRx and BlinkHealth.

“I decided to take the coupon to COSTCO for $ 324, but now I have to send the prescription there, so I left a voicemail with my doctor … what a waste of time for them too.

“I am not entitled to patient help.

“Please write this. I’m so annoyed!

Annnnnnd the answer is …

“The happy conclusion was that I got it from Costco for $ 255 through insurance. Yay! But the hassle of getting it and taking a break from work to research go to pharmacies to get prices , call my doctor and deal with the prescription was a pain.

“After my doctor’s office sent the prescription, Costco first told me that they hadn’t received the prescription. The guy behind the counter told me they would get it right away and it’s not there … I didn’t know just throwing my hands in the air and leaving in a huff and asked if I could transfer the prescription from Walgreens … When I got to the second window they got the prescription from my doctor (sent yesterday) and I’m building software Systems for my living and I know what it takes and I still think that this is a horribly fucked process.

“I am totally confused why Aetna couldn’t tell me which pharmacy near me has the best price. I don’t know why they have different prices for different pharmacies … One thing I know: They don’t stand up for me, the patient.

“Meanwhile, the same drug is $ 25 in Romania.

“As Casey says: We have the best healthcare system in the world, just don’t get sick!”