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Employees, patients have access to
Filling prescriptions not only is convenient for MUSC employees and
patients, buying them just got a lot less expensive for many.
Dr. Heather Kokko
checks drug information from a databank that helps alert pharmacists to
safety precautions. Meanwhile, pharmacy technician Linda Bredewater
prepares prescriptions for refill in back of ART pharmacy.
A generic drug program approved by hospital leadership on July 17 will
enable patients and employees to obtain many generic medications at a
discount, said Heather Kokko, Pharm.D., Ambulatory Pharmacy Services
manager, who developed the program.
“We will begin offering selected generic drugs for $4 for a typical
30-day supply and $10 for a typical 90-day supply beginning Aug. 1,”
Kokko said that about 300 drugs currently are included in the program
and will be available to MUSC patients, employees and associates.
“These drugs will be found on our Web site
(http://www.musc.edu/pharmacyservices/) and we will also be
creating a link from the MUSC main page,” Kokko said. A complete list
also can be obtained via e-mail or fax from any of MUSC ambulatory
In addition to the new generic medication pricing program, MUSC
pharmacies are able to offer other money-saving programs to its
employees, including a number of popular over-the-counter (OTC)
medications at reduced prices.
Most of these OTC drugs are available for as little as $2 (baby
aspirin, antibiotic ointments, Tylenol, just to name a few). Mucinex is
available for $8, and Claritin (generic) can be obtained for $3 for a
30-day supply. (Pharmacies will provide a list of these drugs.)
MUSC pharmacies also are the pharmacy provider of choice for the State
Health Plan and MUSC Options, and therefore also offer the following
discount to the enrollee’s copays:
- State Health Plan: copays on 30-day supply prescriptions:
$7 for tier 1 medications; $22 for tier 2; $37 for tier 3.
- MUSC Options: copays on 30-day supply prescriptions: $7 for
tier 1 medications; $27 for tier 2; $47 for tier 3.
“We are able to offer drugs at a discount to employees and patients due
to our discounted government pricing,” Kokko said. “Because of
our special prices, we must meet certain patient criteria. A person
can’t just walk off the street and get their prescriptions filled here.
There must be a direct association with MUSC to enjoy the discounted
It also would be advisable to ask the pharmacist what a drug costs
without insurance. “You might find that the price is better without
insurance,” Kokko said. The four MUSC pharmacies, located in the Ashley
River Tower, Hollings Cancer Center, Rutledge Tower and University
Hospital, also provide a personal, convenient touch with privacy,
security, and expert consultation.
Fauteux consults with a customer in ART Pharmacy's private consultation
For example, the pharmacy in the new Ashley River Tower incorporates
the need for patient-pharmacist consultation with maximum privacy. A
small room on the left side of the pharmacy enables patients to close a
door, blocking access from others, and meet privately with a pharmacist.
Other pharmacies, such as the University Hospital Pharmacy, urge
patients to phone the pharmacist for private consultation, if desired.
The University Hospital Pharmacy, which recently expanded to make room
for prescription storage, offers the center-of-the-campus convenience
and access to one of MUSC’s most seasoned, and affable pharmacists,
“Henry runs a tight ship and if you are not nice to his customers, you
won’t last long,” Kokko said.
Among the more challenging issues for patients is the cost of
prescription drugs. MUSC staffs five people who are dedicated to
providing patient assistance to people with financial constraints.
While many of these patients are referred from various social services,
“We get to know a lot of these people and can refer them to patient
assistance,” Kokko said. “Of course, they have to provide all sorts of
proof of their financial hardship, but once they get into the system,
we are able to offer them help, and in many cases, free drugs, based on
the commitment of some of the drug manufacturers.”
Family Medicine Pharmacy
At MUSC’s Family Medicine Pharmacy, located on Calhoun Street across
from Roper Hospital, employees and patients can take advantage of
certain discounts, though not as many as the hospital offers. The
pharmacy is affiliated with the South Carolina College of Pharmacy
(SCCP) and provides Advanced Pharmacy Practice Education for
fourth-year SCCP pharmacy students. It is a full-service pharmacy that
accepts most insurance plans. The pharmacy offers discounts on some OTC
drugs, including pain relievers, cough, cold and allergy medications,
and some topical ointments.
Ashley River Tower Pharmacy
Monday - Friday (8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Hollings Cancer Center Pharmacy
Monday - Friday (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Rutledge Tower Pharmacy
Monday - Friday (8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Saturday (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
University Hospital Pharmacy (Formerly Ashley Avenue Pharmacy)
1st floor of the University (Main) Hospital
Monday - Friday (8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.)
*Family Medicine Pharmacy
295 Calhoun St.
Monday - Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed 12:30 – 1 p.m.)
Saturday (9 a.m. – noon)
* Discounts and programs differ from those offered by hospital
Friday, July 25, 2008
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