New Direct-to-Consumer Pharmacy May Have Cost Savings Benefits for Cancer Patients

By: Noelle LoConte, MD

Cost Plus Drugs is a newer online only direct-to-consumer pharmacy which may have significant cost savings benefits for hematology and oncology patients. Cost Plus Drugs was launched in early 2022 and offers only generic medications bought directly from the manufacturer with a flat 15% markup plus a $3 pharmacy fee and a $5 shipping fee. For most patients (especially patients without prescription drug coverage) this will likely represent a significant reduction in out-of-pocket costs.

There are many cancer-related medications on the Cost Plus Drugs formulary at this time including multiple hormonal oral therapies (anastrazole, letrozole and tamoxifen), imatinib, methotrexate and temozolomide. There are also many supportive care medications available, including antiemetics (aprepitant, dexamethasone, granisetron, ondansetron, prednisone and promethazine), as well as limited pain medications (lidocaine patches, diclofenac). There are also a host of medications for other medical conditions, including medications for chronic medical conditions as well as antibiotics and antivirals.

It is recommended that oncologists and other cancer care providers remain aware of the oncology medications available on Cost Plus Drugs and encourage their patient to review the available medications as a way to reduce financial toxicity. One possible concern is that one pharmacy will not know all of the medications that a patient is getting if they can only get some of their medications from Cost Plus Drugs, for example. For this reason, embedded oncology pharmacists in cancer clinics can be especially helpful to evaluate for drug-drug interactions, appropriate dosing and monitoring and pharmaceutical counseling for patients.

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