Picture this: you’ve found the cause of your stroke, but now you need to prevent blood clots. Your doctor prescribes Xarelto, and when you get to the pharmacy, you realize you can’t afford it.
You wonder, why is Xarelto so expensive? Unfortunately, many factors contribute to the drug’s high price, and most of them are out of your control.
Read on to learn what makes the medication expensive and how you can lower your prescription bill.
No Price Restrictions
One of the reasons why Xarelto is so expensive is that the US doesn’t restrict drug prices. In fact, drugs in the US cost over 2.5 times more than drugs in other countries.
That means pharmaceutical companies can charge as much as they want for medications. As a consumer, you don’t have much of a choice but to pay for the medication.
And since Xarelto can help prevent blood clots, it can mean the difference between life and death. While you may be able to go without other medications, not taking Xarelto could be deadly for some patients.
Because of that, the company behind the medication has even more leverage to charge a lot. They know that patients will pay whatever for the blood thinner.
Drugs in the US also have patent protection for 20 years after they hit the market. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Xarelto in 2011, so it’s still under that protection.
It will be at least another decade or so before other companies can develop a generic version. The patent protection gives drug makers a chance to recoup the money they spend on developing the drug.
But since the government doesn’t regulate prices, the company can charge a lot more than they need to. And while you may find similar drugs, none are going to be quite the same.
If you find that Xarelto is the best for you, you might need to deal with the high prices while the patent is active.
Long Approval Process
Even when the Xarelto medication patent expires, it may take a while before a generic comes on the market. It will take other companies time to develop the medication and submit it to the FDA.
So even if the medicine’s patent is about to expire, that doesn’t mean a generic will be available soon. You might need to wait months or years before you can access a generic.
During that time, Xarelto will probably continue to be expensive, and you won’t have a choice in the medication you buy. And once a generic hits the market, you’ll need to meet with your doctor to discuss switching.
All of that takes time and effort, and it can make switching to a generic more difficult. Even if it will save you money overall, you might not want to go through the hassle of waiting and switching over.
More Insurance Companies
Compared to Canada and countries in Europe, the United States has a lot of health insurance companies. Because of that, individual companies don’t have as much negotiating power.
So if one insurance company in Canada rejects the price of Xarelto, that could affect a huge part of the market. Drug companies in other countries may be more willing to negotiate on a more affordable price.
However, in the United States, insurance companies don’t have that advantage. If one company doesn’t cover the medication, it won’t affect as many people.
That means it won’t affect the drug manufacturer as much either. And if it does, the company may just charge more to the insurance companies that do cover it.
Another thing that drives up Xarelto prices in the United States is all of the administration in the healthcare industry. It costs money for companies to work on administrative tasks.
They have to take time to do those tasks, or they have to pay employees for the work. Either way, it can make Xarelto and other drugs much more expensive.
Drug companies need to make money overall, so if their costs are higher, their prices will be, too. They’ll pass that extra cost on to patients and insurance companies.
If the extra cost goes to your insurance company, they might raise your deductible or premium. So whether it’s clear or not, Xarelto may affect the entire cost of your healthcare.
The Supply Chain
Aside from administrative work, other parts of the supply chain can increase the cost of your Xarelto medication. You have to account for the drug company, their employees, the pharmacy, and your insurance.
In some cases, the supply chain also includes a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). All of those things can raise the cost for you, the end-user of the medication.
Unfortunately, you don’t have any control over the supply chain. And since only one company can make and sell Xarelto, you can’t switch to a different brand.
All of these factors can cause drug prices to skyrocket, even though the company has made back the money they spent on research.
One of the few things you might be able to control is the dosage of Xarelto. You and your doctor can choose from four different doses of the medicine:
- 2.5 milligrams (mg)
- 10 mg
- 15 mg
- 20 mg
If you need to take a higher dose, you may need to pay more for the same supply. While you may have a bit of control over how much you’ll take, you should take what your doctor prescribes.
So if they prescribe a higher dose, you can expect to pay more each month. It’s not a fun part of taking any medication, but it’s worth noting when answering, “why is Xarelto so expensive?”
How to Save Money on Xarelto
If you need to take Xarelto, you don’t need to resign yourself to spending the first price someone gives you. Whether you take a small or large dose, you can compare Xarelto prices to find a good deal.
You may still need to spend a decent amount on the prescription. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money on your health.
Here are a few things to consider so that you can save money on the blood thinner.
Even if you have a pharmacy you always use for prescriptions, consider visiting others. Your current pharmacy may not offer the best deal on Xarelto or your other medications.
Look at other pharmacies near you and ask for the prices on Xarelto and other drugs you take. Try to compare at least a few pharmacies in your area so that you have more options.
Consider the cost of Xarelto at each pharmacy, and consider if it might be worth using a different location. You might only save a couple of dollars, but those savings can add up over months and years.
In some cases, you might be able to save a lot more per month. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the same pharmacy just because it’s closer or offers other benefits.
Get a Coupon
Another excellent way to lower the cost of your Xarelto is to get a coupon to use at the pharmacy. Depending on the coupon, you might be able to go to any pharmacy you choose.
If you have a pharmacy you like, you might want to join their rewards program to get specific coupons. Then, you can save money on your overall healthcare costs.
Drug coupons may help you save a little or a lot of money, depending on the coupon. Even if you can’t find a coupon, don’t be afraid to look for one for your medicine.
You might even want to ask the pharmacist if they can give you a discount. They may not be able to, but you’ll never know until you ask.
Consider a Pharmacy Savings Card
If you take other medications along with Xarelto, you might want to get a prescription savings card. These cards can help you get discounts on your medicine at various pharmacies.
Some programs are more popular than others, so consider a few of them. Compare the discounts available, eligible medications, and the pharmacies that accept the card.
You can request a card and keep it in your wallet. Whenever you need to go pick up a refill of your medication, you can show the card to the pharmacist to redeem your savings.
Request a 90-Day Supply
Another way to lower the cost of your Xarelto medication is to switch from a 30-day to a 90-day supply. Ordering your medicine in bulk can lower the cost of each dose.
So while you’ll need to pay more each time, you can save money overall. That can be nice if you know you’ll be on the medication long-term since you’ll have to keep getting refills anyway.
Also, getting a 90-day supply can save you a lot of time. You won’t have to go to the pharmacy as often, so you might save hours each year if your pharmacy is far away.
And if you schedule your refill to be the same as other medications, you can make even fewer trips.
Review Your Insurance
At the end of the year, consider if your current health insurance covers Xarelto and how well they cover it. If your plan stops covering the medication, your costs will rise.
So make sure you enroll in a plan that offers decent coverage for Xarelto and prescription drugs in general. You may still need to pay a bit of money for your prescription.
But you shouldn’t have to cover the entire cost of the medication. If you have any choice at all in your insurance, compare plans and the drugs they cover to ensure you don’t lose the coverage you need.
When you have insurance through a job, you may not have much of a choice in the company. However, if you get insurance yourself, you’ll have more options, and you can make sure you have sufficient coverage.
Use an Online Pharmacy
Maybe you’ve tried everything, and you still can’t quite afford Xarelto. You should look for a safe online pharmacy where you can order the medication.
Of course, this can save you time since you won’t have to drive to and from a pharmacy. But you’ll also have access to pharmacies outside of the United States.
As long as you go with a reputable pharmacy, you can get your medication safely. You’ll be able to order everything online, and you can take advantage of the cheaper drug prices abroad.
Try a Different Medication
For some patients, Xarelto is the only blood thinner they should take. However, other patients may be able to consider similar medications, such as Eliquis.
The two medications can both treat similar conditions, so ask your doctor if you can switch to Eliquis. Your doctor might recommend that you stay on Xarelto.
But they might say it’s okay to switch, and you can test the new medication. In that case, you’ll still need to pay for a prescription, but you might be able to save more on Eliquis or a similar medicine.
If it works well, you can keep from having to pay as much for your prescriptions. And if your condition improves enough, you may be able to go off of your medication.
Lower Your Dosage
If you have to use Xarelto, you might ask your doctor about lowering your dosage. You’ll need to consider your condition, its severity, and how Xarelto can help.
That way, you and your healthcare provider can figure out how much medication you should take. In some cases, you may be able to lower your dose, especially if you aren’t as much of a risk for blood clots.
Changing the dose will be a very personal decision, so make sure you talk to someone who knows you and your situation. Don’t just lower the dose on your own in an attempt to save money.
So Why Is Xarelto So Expensive?
Whether you’ve been on it for months or just got a prescription, you may wonder, why is Xarelto so expensive? Like many other medications, nothing regulates the cost of Xarelto.
The drug company can charge what they want, and as long as it has patent protection, you won’t find a cheaper generic. Luckily, you can save money on your medication, so consider a few options to help.
Are you ready to lower your drug costs? Order Xarelto today.
- RAND Corporation: Prescription Drug Prices in the United States Are 2.56 Times Those in Other Countries
- Johnson and Johnson: FDA Approves XARELTO® (Rivaroxaban) To Reduce The Risk Of Stroke And Systemic Embolism In Patients With Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation
- Healthline: Dosage for Xarelto: What You Need to Know
- Costs of Care: Drug Discount Cards – Lifting the Veil of Secrecy
- 90-Day Meds: Prescription Drugs and Your Health Plan: What Is Covered and What Isn’t
- 90-Day Meds: How to Find a Safe Online Pharmacy
- 90-Day Meds: Xarelto vs. Eliquis: What’s the Best Blood Thinner for You?
- 90-Day Meds: Xarelto