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Paramount Rx Saves Patients $750 Million on Prescriptions in 2020 with Community Cares Rx Program

Prescription Benefits Manager Paramount Rx saved U.S. customers $750 million on their prescriptions in 2020 through its Community Cares Rx prescription discount program, providing immediate savings to millions of underinsured and uninsured American families. 

“In a year marked by uncertainty and unanticipated medical expenses, prescription savings programs became more important than ever for our customers,” said Ron Richmond, senior vice president of provider relations at Paramount Rx. “By eliminating the high fees typically associated with prescription discount cards, families and individuals were able to focus on staying healthy at home while keeping prescription costs down.”

Data collected from the Community Cares Rx discount program also illustrated several trends for prescriptions filled in 2020: 

  • Paramount Rx saw a significant 47% increase in the number of prescriptions filled for respiratory medications compared to 2019. This spike could be the result of increased respiratory health challenges seen in those who contracted COVID-19 last year, and patients likely also stocked up on their respiratory medications in early 2020 out of concern for possible shortages.
  • Paramount Rx saw a nearly 20% drop in prescriptions for cough and cold medications compared to 2019, likely due to the reduced spread of seasonal ailments from social distancing measures and mask wearing.
  • Prescriptions filled for the most popular medication used to treat influenza dropped an astonishing 95% compared to Paramount Rx’s pre-pandemic volume. This decrease aligns with the broader trend of seasonal illnesses presenting at much lower levels compared to historic norms.

Public health officials continue to advise those with chronic medical conditions like asthma to maintain a 30, 60 or 90-day supply of prescriptions to limit trips to the pharmacy and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is a moving target that continues to challenge our healthcare system. We are grateful to all of our pharmacy partners for the critical role they are playing to provide testing and administer vaccines to help us overcome this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Richmond. 

About Paramount Rx Inc.
Paramount Rx is a full-service prescription benefits manager (PBM) focused on consumer-driven health care to help clients provide services for consumers to save money on prescription drugs. The company has tailored programs to help their customers and consumers achieve significant savings with discount prescriptions through a national network of over 57,000 participating pharmacies. For more information, visit www.paramountrx.com. Print out your free Community Cares Rx prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

Don’t Miss a Beat – Fast Facts for a Healthy Heart

‘Self care’ may be a popular buzzword, but it’s true that taking care of yourself goes a long way toward a healthier lifestyle and a healthier heart. Staying active, preparing nutritious meals, getting quality sleep, and taking a moment to de-stress are all small steps you can take to improve your heart health. In honor of American Heart Month, check out these heart health facts and tips:

Heart Fast Facts –

  • The average human heart is the size of two fists.
  • Heart disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide
  • On average, the resting heart rate fluctuates between 60 and 100 beats per minute. That means over the course of a year, your heart beats more than 40 million times.
  • A woman’s average heartbeat is faster than a man’s by almost eight beats per minute.
  • Each minute, your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood – that’s 2,000 gallons every day!

Healthy Heart Quick Tips –

  • Eat your greens. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Laugh out loud. The American Heart Association suggests that laughing can lower stress hormones and decrease inflammation in your arteries.
  • Quit Smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease, and your blood pressure and heart rate lower almost immediately after kicking the habit.
  • Keep moving. Getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week is linked to improved sleep, memory and balance!

 These small changes can help you start 2021 off right with a healthier heart. While you’re on your journey to better health, Paramount Rx can provide great savings on the prescriptions that you and your family use every day.


For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Three Things to Keep in Mind Before Filling Your Prescriptions

The average American household spends almost $500 out-of-pocket on prescriptions each year. But how do you know if your prescription is right for you? Have you asked your doctor about other options on the market? Are you paying the lowest price? Here are three tips to ensure you get the right treatment without breaking the bank.

Generic vs. brand-name medication

When it comes to your health, you are your own best advocate. Your doctor’s preferences, and the success of a particular drug with their other patients, can influence what they prescribe to you. This is why it’s important to ask your doctor specific questions about your medications, and why they are recommending them for you. In some cases, the generic version of a drug might be just as effective as its brand-name equivalent, but cost up to 85% less. The Food and Drug Administration also ensures that generic drugs are just as safe and effective.

Find the best price

Buying a prescription is like buying gas for your car: the key is finding the best price in town. Your doctor will typically know which pharmacy in your area offers the best pricing, and online tools like Community Cares Rx’s pharmacy pricing tool can help you find the pharmacy offering your specific medication as the best price. The Community Cares Rx prescription discount card saves customers an average of 20% off brand names and 70% off generic drugs. 

Consider a 60- or 90-day supply

For a reduced price and an added convenience, a 60- or 90-day supply of medication may be the right fit. According to the AARP, healthcare professionals are advising their patients who are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 to have additional refills on-hand. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that you have at least one month’s worth of refills, but preferably two.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2021

In 2020, mental health awareness and virtual care topped the list of emerging healthcare industry trends. What can patients expect in 2021? Forbes previewed the top healthcare trends to keep an eye out for in the new year:

  • The race for COVID-19 therapies and vaccines will dominate the first part of the year. It is estimated that healthy adults under 65 and children may not receive the vaccine until late spring or early summer 2021.
  • There will be an influx of individuals look to reestablish routine care who were unable to receive care at the height of the pandemic.
  • Virtual healthcare will become more balanced and widely used. As soon as it was safe to do so, we’ll move back into in-person visits in addition to virtual visits.
  • Prescription prices will continue to rise as more high-cost procedures and medicines hit the market in 2021.

The past year has given us time to reflect and reset our priorities when it comes to health and wellness. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our resilient healthcare systems and workers to rapidly adopt new healthcare solutions around the world. As modern medicine and technology continue to evolve in 2021, we will continue to adopt new approaches to improve care quality.

Paramount Rx is working to help ease the burden of rising prescription costs, with programs like Community Cares Rx that could help you save an average of 50 percent on your prescriptions. Online tools are also available to help you find the best possible price on your medications. Print out a free prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

Ask a Pharmacist: Flu Season and COVID-19

Ronald Richmond, R.Ph., MPH, Senior Vice President of Provider Relations, Paramount Rx

Why is getting a flu vaccine more important than ever this year?

Getting a flu shot this year is very important as we struggle through the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both Flu and COVID-19 are viruses that attack the respiratory tract. While we don’t currently have a lot of experience with co-infections of these viruses, we do know it is possible to contract both at the same time. Having Flu and COVID-19 simultaneously could result in much more severe illness, especially for those with underlying diseases or vulnerable populations, like the elderly.

Is the pharmacy industry preparing for flu season differently this year? If so, how?
Pharmacies in general have anticipated an increased demand for flu shots this year. The benefits of immunizations have been highlighted much more this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with the potential for Flu co-infection with COVID-19 and more severe illness, it is thought that many people may seek out a flu shot this year, even if they haven’t routinely done so in the past. Pharmacies have been preparing for this increased demand by ensuring they have adequate supplies of flu vaccine on hand.

Are there special precautions pharmacists are taking this flu season to safely administer vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Pharmacists are keenly aware of the importance of social distancing. However, the administration of the vaccines does require close contact between the patient and the pharmacist. To minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread during immunizations, the pharmacist wears a mask and gloves, and the patient is required to wear a mask. Social distancing is maintained while the pharmacist is not administering the vaccine.

What would you tell an at-risk person about getting a flu vaccine this season?

While everyone should get a flu shot this year to lower their risk of co-infection with COVID-19, getting a flu shot is even more critical for those with underlying disease states and the elderly. These individuals are already at greater risk for more severe illness with a flu infection. Flu vaccines for the current year usually become available well in advance of flu season, and flu shots are readily available at most retail pharmacies and doctor’s offices. In short, lack of access is really not an excuse for not getting your flu shot. For those aged 65 and above, who have poorer immune responses to flu vaccines than younger people, a “high dose” or “adjuvanted” version of the flu shot may be used to achieve a better immune response, and better protection against flu.

What about children? Can they get a flu shot at the Pharmacy? How about a COVID-19 shot when the vaccine becomes available?

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) issued an amendment under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) that allows licensed pharmacists meeting specific requirements to order and administer approved or licensed vaccines to children ages three and above. Further guidance under the amendment expands the authorization to administer these vaccines to qualified pharmacy technicians and interns working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. The amendment was considered an important step in ensuring adequate access to immunizations for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many pharmacies have moved ahead with the training programs required for their staff to administer flu and other approved vaccines to children ages three and above. Check with your local pharmacy to verify they can provide flu immunizations to your children.

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, your local pharmacy may provide the most convenient access to receive this immunization. However, current vaccine trials in the United States do not include children under the age of 12. Therefore, additional information is needed before we can further discuss COVID-19 immunizations in children. Nonetheless, once an approved COVID-19 vaccine is determined to be safe in children, it will likely become available for the immunization of children at pharmacies whose qualified staff meet the requirements established by the amendment to the PREP Act.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

Celebrating Health Literacy Month: How to Stay Informed About Your Health Decisions

The world of medicine is complicated, and healthcare literacy is a stressful issue for most Americans. It is important for your doctor to help make healthcare easier to understand, and for you to take a proactive role in your care. Here are some tips to keep in mind during Health Literacy Month:  

Tip #1 Find the Right Doctor for You

Establishing a strong relationship with your doctor is a key step in making smart decisions about your health, but it can be challenging to find the right fit. Communication plays a key role – you should feel comfortable speaking freely, and find an active listener who makes you feel heard. If you find yourself leaving an appointment with questions, or are unsure about the next steps to take, getting a second opinion can help guide you toward an more informed health decision.

Tip #2: Take an Active Role in Your Health Care

By taking an active role in your own health care, you are setting yourself up for success. Being open with your physician, asking questions proactively at check-ups and scheduling regular appointments are all ways to take charge. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification in conversations that confuse you – HealthLink says this is one of the best ways to make the most of your appointments! Being active in your health care goes beyond conversations in the doctor’s office. A simple task like organizing your medical records at home is a smart way to stay prepared when the time comes to make a health decision.

Tip #3: Use Reliable Outlets for Online Health Information

Searching the Internet for health information can be a quick and easy way to educate yourself, but it is easy to go down a rabbit hole of misinformation if you are not looking in the right places. Start with The National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s website or health websites sponsored by government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Remember, your pharmacist is also a trusted resource for questions on alternative medications, immunizations and healthscreenings.

Making the best health decisions also includes finding the best deals on medications. Participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you get the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other programs that can help you save money, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Preparing for a Second Wave of COVID-19

With the first day of fall officially in the books, health experts across the nation are discussing the possibility of a COVID-19 resurgence in the coming weeks. Countries in Europe and Asia have already started to fend off a second wave of the disease, and as the weather starts to get cooler, it’s important to be prepared and stay vigilant about your health.  

Wondering what you can do to stay a step ahead and remain healthy this season? Here are a few tips:

  1. Get a flu shot
    Vaccination season is underway, and the CDC says it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. In addition to staying healthy, getting your flu shot is a simple way for everyone to help alleviate the strain on the healthcare system, and allow them to focus time and resources on treating COVID-19 patients. To get your flu shot, contact or visit your local pharmacy – many accept walk-in appointments!
  2. Know your local COVID-19 guidelines
    Many parts of the country have seen schools and businesses reopen, or attempt to reopen, in recent weeks. States, cities and counties may have different regulations in place, so it’s helpful to know what precautions your community is taking. While some communities are easing restrictions, others are increasing them – and this is likely to keep changing as our knowledge of the pandemic evolves throughout the fall. Local regulations are designed to keep you safe and are following the latest data available. Remember, just because a restaurant or store has re-opened, they could close back up again. Find the latest restrictions your state’s Department of Health website to keep yourself up to date.
  3. Keep up the recommended prevention techniques
    During the summer, spending time outside was a great way to stay active and relatively safe, as COVID-19 is less transmittable in the open air. With cooler temperatures on the horizon, we will soon find ourselves back indoors, but it’s still as important to continue the same recommended prevention techniques. Make sure to keep washing your hands, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Out in public, maintain six feet apart from other people and wear a face covering at all times – and don’t forget to wash your cloth mask after each use!

While preparing for a safe and healthy season, it can be helpful to find ways to save on your everyday medications by participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx. For information on Community Cares Rx and other cost-saving programs that can help you find discounts on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Ask a Pharmacist: The Role of Pharmacists During COVID-19

Ronald Richmond, R.Ph., MPH, Senior Vice President of Provider Relations, Paramount Rx

How are pharmacists implementing drive-thru COVID-19 testing? What are the challenges and opportunities with this type of testing?

The pharmacy industry is working rapidly to make more testing available to the public. While testing may be available at both chain and independent pharmacies, a majority of the drive-thru COVID-19 tests are being implemented by major chain pharmacies using appointment-based services. These drive-thru tests are administered primarily through supervised self-swabbing, which minimizes physical contact and provides a greater sense of safety. Some pharmacies are even distributing at-home self-swab test kits, reducing in-person contact to virtually zero. State regulations regarding which services pharmacists can perform under their scope of practice has been a hurdle. However, the states have been working to address these challenges. This may include authorizing pharmacists to provide testing under existing practice laws or waiving the requirement for collaborative practice arrangements to provide testing. Overall, the addition of pharmacy COVID-19 testing services will provide greater access to testing, which can help to identify positive cases more quickly and get patients to self-quarantine and any treatment they may need faster.

In your opinion, what is the most important role of pharmacists right now?

There are three critical components I believe should be a top priority at this time:

  1. Improving medication therapy outcomes by driving medication adherence
  2. Providing a local, accessible destination for preventive care services, such as immunizations
  3. Providing patient education on medications and health-related matters

How has COVID-19 changed the dynamics between pharmacists and patients?

The increased use of remote prescription services, such a delivery and mail-in orders, has eliminated face-to-face contact normally seen in pharmacist-patient interactions at the counter. This is a critical component of pharmacist-patient relationships, as it enhances the sense of community and trust. As pharmacies deal with short supplies or unavailable stock of essential items, pharmacists are adapting to provide patients with alternative products and resources. For example, if a pharmacy is out of alcohol swabs or Acetaminophen, the pharmacist can be consulted to suggest a safe alternative product.

Do you believe pharmacists will play a larger role in patient care moving forward?

In several states, pharmacists are already playing a larger role in delivering patient care. These services may include prescribing oral contraceptives, conducting finger-stick blood tests for blood glucose or throat swab tests for strep, and providing diabetes education, to name a few. The availability of these types of expanded services will vary depending on the state you live in, and the type of service. States must often expand their pharmacists’ scope of practice under the law to allow them to perform these services.  Services that integrate well with normal pharmacy workflow, such as walk-up immunizations, can usually be offered at all pharmacies. In contrast, services that require more time or a private room, like diabetes education, may only be available on an appointment basis at select pharmacies.

How do you believe COVID-19 will impact the pharmacy industry in the long-term?

While it may likely impact industry procurement and preparedness practices, I’m not sure that COVID-19 will significantly impact pharmacy practice. Many pharmacists already provide testing services, so using local pharmacists to administer COVID-19 testing is not necessarily a new concept. Pharmacy drive thru testing is a new concept and may be impactful on normal workflow during pandemics, but it should not present a practice challenge for pharmacists, especially when acting in a supervisory role for self-swab tests. In addition, when the COVID-19 vaccine is available, most pharmacies will already have the infrastructure in place to administer the immunizations. During the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, pharmacists learned how support the distribution and tracking of an allocated government-procured vaccine, build reporting mechanisms to account for administered doses and work with payers to secure reimbursement for the administration of the vaccine. I believe that this H1N1 experience, coupled with the expansion of provider seasonal and non-seasonal immunization services in subsequent years, has left pharmacists well prepared to assist in the mitigation of this pandemic when a vaccine becomes available. 


For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

FDA Drug Recalls: Why it Happens and What to do

As patients, we take prescriptions to improve our health, so it can be confusing and scary when our prescriptions are recalled. However, most of the time there’s no need for alarm, as the FDA actually recalls drugs on a weekly basis for minor reasons like adverse side effects, mislabeling and manufacturing defects. So, what should you do when your medication is recalled? Check out the tips below to safely navigate a drug recall:

  1. Get all the information

If your medication is recalled, don’t panic. Most recalls are initiated out of an abundance of caution to help keep the public safe. You may even hear about the recall before your pharmacist is able to reach out to you. If this is the case, it’s important to continue taking your medication until you speak with your healthcare provider, as some medications are critical for your health. By signing up for the FDA’s Recall, Market Withdrawals & Safety Alerts, you can stay informed on the latest prescription news and recalls.  

  1. Make an action plan

After finding out that your prescription is recalled, verify whether your exact medication is affected by looking at the manufacturer, lot number and expiration date. If you’re unsure where to find this information, reach out to your pharmacist for help. If your exact medication is recalled, your pharmacist may be able to get the same medication from a different drug company. After discussing with your doctor, be sure to properly dispose of the recalled drug by following the FDA’s Disposal of Unused Medicines instructions. Pro tip: Take the opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinet of expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine!

  1. Start saving money

If your medication is recalled, it may be time to switch to an alternative medication. No matter what prescriptions you’re taking, be sure to utilize online tools to find the best possible price on your medications. Print out a free prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Pharmacists Can Now Test for COVID-19. What Does that Mean for Patients?

For many of us, a quick trip to the pharmacy is part of our weekly routine. It’s where we fill prescriptions, pick up essentials and even get a flu shot. While your neighborhood pharmacist is always available to answer questions about medications, did you know they can also provide health screenings like COVID-19 testing?

Pharmacists are often a patient’s first point of contact with a healthcare professional, and the pandemic has shed light on their expanding roles as caregivers. HHS Secretary Alex Azar, JD, believes that “pharmacists play a vital role in delivering convenient access to important public health services and information.”

As the pandemic continues, many pharmacies across the nation are ordering and administering COVID-19 testing under the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent authorization. With wide-spread community testing now available, more Americans, especially those in under-tested and vulnerable communities, can be tested faster, resulting in less contact with symptomatic individuals.


If you are experiencing early symptoms of COVID-19 and would like to be tested, keep these precautions in mind:

  • If possible, schedule an appointment ahead of time to minimize your wait-time and exposure. Some pharmacies are even administering drive-thru tests!
  • Always follow social distancing procedures and wear a face mask.
  • Take everyday preventive steps like washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face.
  • Stay up-to-date on all your prescriptions to help maintain your overall health. Preserving your immune system is particularly important now, so that you can fight off any illnesses quickly. 

No matter what brings you to the pharmacy, be sure to utilize online tools to find the best possible price on your medications. Print out a free prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.