Saturday, February 19, 2011

Target, $10 gift card for NEW or TRANSFERRED prescription

The sales flyer this week (Feb. 13-19) at Target contains an Rx coupon.  For each prescription you bring to Target Pharmacy (with a coupon for each) that is NEW or TRANSFERRED from a competitor, you'll get a $10 gift card.

No limits.

Expires: Feb. 28, 2011.

REMINDER:  New rule in Ohio (see for details) limits each prescription to being transferred just ONE time now.  If you transferred it once or more in 2010 but have not yet transferred it during 2011, you can still transfer that prescription once more.   And when you get a new script for that same drug later this year, you can use a coupon that says NEW on it and another if you TRANSFER it later.  You may want to ask your doctor for 2 or more prescriptions with fewer refills rather than ONE that lasts all year -- especially if you will need to move during the next several months (to go back home from college and then back to college; or if you move or travel, etc.; or if you just want freedom to move to a pharmacy where you like the service better when a pharmacist you like leaves or is transferred).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ohio residents: You can only transfer a prescription ONE time because of new rule that starts Jan. 1, 2010

You can thank the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy (and those who lobbied them for the change they are putting into effect) for making a new rule effective Jan. 1, 2011 that makes it so Ohio residents can:
  • NO LONGER transfer a prescription more than ONE time.
Here's how you reach them:

Call: (614) 466-4143
TTY/TDD Ohio Relay Service: 1-800-750-0750
Fax: (614) 752-4836
William T. Winsley, Executive Director, Ohio State Board of Pharmacy
77 South High Street, Room 1702
Columbus, OH 43215-6126

Although the intent may have been two-fold by those who lobbied for this change:
  • Reduce the number of transfers of prescriptions (as encouraged by Rx coupons commonly available in competitive markets such as Columbus); and to 
  • reduce competition from stores that don't have both a NATIONAL (not just regional presence) and online, sharable, real-time prescription database.
There are many other ways people are negatively impacted.

  • ELDERLY who move to Florida or other warmer areas for the winter (after getting their prescriptions in teh summer) need to be able to transfer them TWICE -- once to move from the pharmacy most convenient to them here in Ohio and then again when Spring arrives and they return to Ohio.  Often these are NOT the same pharmacy (Kmart or Joe's Pharmacy may be most convenient here in Ohio while they use Rite Aid or some other place in Florida or Arizona or wherever).  In order to have it filled in Ohio again, they will have to have their doctor write a new prescription (which often requires they make a new visit and pay a new co-pay).  A work-around for the future would require that the elderly ask their doctor for TWO scripts for every prescription -- one to keep on file for when they come back in Spring and the other to use for the first few months and then transfer with them when they become "snowbirds."  Or else they can give in to being nudged into using the same pharmacy company in both/all locations (something with a national presence ... or at least both/all regions where they visit ... and that have the online, sharable, real-time prescription database as required in the law to allow transfers between stores of the same brand such as CVS after the first transfer is made).
  • Those who go to the pharmacy closest to their doctor/hospital at first and then move it to a pharmacy closer to their home but later in the year move location.  to a different location ... or WANT to move to another pharmacy because they're not happy at that store can NOT do so any more because of this new rule change.
  • Those who may have moved their prescription to a less-convenient location for an incentive -- such as to get a $10 gift card at Target, $30 in free gas at Giant Eagle, or $25 gift card/rewards at Kroger or CVS -- will discover they can NOT move it again after Dec. 31, 2010.  Their prescription will be stranded.

To be posted soon:

  • Those pharmacists and companies that lobbied for this change will be revealed once I am able to peruse the minutes and recordings of meetings that preceded this change voted upon at the December meeting of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.

For now, you may want to ask your favorite pharmacist to transfer all of your prescriptions from other pharmacies so s/he can fill them in the new year and you won't have to run around to other locations until you've used up your refills.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Safety tip: Have a PRIMARY pharmacy for all NEW medications

    If you do play "Rx Ping-Pong" -- transferring prescriptions from one pharmacy to another to maximize the number of times you can use Rx Coupons, please take this word of advice:

    * Have a PRIMARY pharmacy -- one where you feel most comfortable, respect the pharmacists the most, and feel they are always vigilant about making sure you understand new drugs and asking about whether you're still taking something (from a year or so ago) that might badly interact with a new drug prescribed.

    * Make sure ALL of your medications have been filled there at least once.

    * Any time you have a NEW MEDICATION prescribed, send it to that PRIMARY or "main/home" pharmacy.


    There are some dangerous interactions that can happen between some drugs. Your own primary care doctor or specialist may not realize you are taking a drug that will badly interact with the new one they are about to give you.

    The pharmacist is the LAST line of defense to protect you from this. But if you're taking your newest drug to a pharmacy that doesn't know about all of your drugs, they may not have a RED FLAG pop up in their system to warn about this dangerous interaction. A person can die as a result. And this has happened at least once in Ohio.

    So, be careful. Getting a $10 or $25 gift card to help you better afford the cost of your medications is certainly not worth endangering your health.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Grocery Coupon Guide tips about finding coupons -- pharmacy rewards & manufacturer discounts

    Read tips from "Grocery Coupon Guide" blog about "Pharmacy Coupon Rewards" and how to find them ... as well as tips about asking doctor for NEW prescriptions more often (vs. one a year with lots of refills) as many of the coupons require purchase to be NEW if you want to avoid having to do the "Rx Ping-Pong" game of transferring your prescriptions from one pharmacy to another and then back to be "transfer eligible." (as described at

    Also, they have another story about finding Prescription Drug Rx Coupons" issued by drug manufacturing companies. Some offer a significant discount on your co-pay (50%). There's a list in the story. They also point to a longer list of some that are available.

    The story mentions that some of these are obtainable by asking your doctor, pharmacist, or visiting the website of the manufacturer of the medication.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    Rx Ping-Pong Basics: 101

    Basically, Rx Ping-Pong just means that you don't do all your business with ONE pharmacy for your prescription medications and supplies.

    You transfer some or all of your business from your favorite pharmacy to your second-favorite pharmacy (or one that is flexible about accepting coupons -- no limit on how many you can use that day and/or willing to accept competitors' coupons) when there are occasionally coupons available that provide you an incentive (gift card, etc.) to TRANSFER a prescription or bring them a NEW one.

    And, later, you transfer them back. In each move, you may have earned $10 to $30 PER prescription in free groceries or free/discounted gas or free gift cards. This might help you better afford the ever-increasing price of your prescription medications (or the quickly-rising costs of co-pays on most health insurance plans).


    DISCLAIMER: This may not be for you!

    If your answer to any of these questions is "Yes," then do NOT try to play Rx Ping-Pong:

    • Are you OK with the amount of money you are spending per year on co-pays for your prescriptions?

    • Do you have frequent changes to your prescription medications?

    • Would it bother you terribly if one of the grocery stores or pharmacies you currently do business with BANNED you from ever entering their store again (for using too many coupons; or transferring prescriptions too often; or for asking questions about their policies regarding accepting coupons -- theirs or their competitors')? YES, Kroger did this to one person (me) and has banned many people from ever being able to use pharmacy coupons again because they've hit some arbitrary unadvertised "lifetime limit."

    • Would it bother you if your current pharmacist and her/his staff gave you dirty looks every time you entered the store because they were afraid you were bringing them another list of things to transfer back by phone from their competitor (that you just took there last month or the prior month) ... and that you'll probably be using coupons to get something out of their store (as advertised)?

    If you're sure you still want to try this out,
    here's how it works in its most simple explanation ...

    But first, read this SAFETY TIP about choosing and using a PRIMARY pharmacy for all new medications or those only occasionally prescribed for acute problems.

    Also: Make sure you take to each pharmacy a list of ALL medications (including over-the-counter stuff and vitamins and supplements). One may spot an interaction problem another overlooked.


    In a simple "getting started" mode, you might take a few of your prescriptions to a SECOND pharmacy when there are coupons that offer a gift card (of $10 to $30 or so) or perhaps a discounted or FREE tank of gas (with 3 or more prescription transfers). Choose two pharmacies you like that are convenient to you -- if you're already shopping at Giant Eagle (where you get your Rx and groceries) and Target (where you get lots of other stuff), try transferring a few prescriptions to Target when a coupon appears in their Sunday sales flyer (available in the Sunday newspaper ... or at the front counter by request). Similarly, if you get your groceries at Kroger and your drugs at CVS or Walgreen's, try transferring some prescriptions to Kroger (or Giant Eagle) -- both of which accept competitors' coupons (or at least advertise that).

    When there are no coupons offered in your market, you simply get refills as usual (or take them back to your favorite pharmacy the next month). And if it's just $10, maybe don't bother ... or just transfer one or two.

    (or start your first/second Rx Ping-Pong attempts):

    You need to learn the "coupon policies" of your pharmacy (whether it's a stand-alone pharmacy or one inside a grocery (such as Giant Eagle or Kroger) or other large retailer (such as Meijers or Wal-Mart or Target). Do they have a LIMIT on the number of coupons per day they accept (be clear that you only want to use ONE coupon PER prescription -- at times 3 coupons for 3 prescriptions perhaps)? Do they offer coupons or rebates? Where do these appear (sales flyer in newspaper, sales flyer in store, and/or full-page ads in newspaper, etc.)? Do they accept competitors' coupons? Are there additional limitations on accepting those?

    Of course, in asking those questions, you might make them uncomfortable ... and they might use that as an excuse later when they don't want to admit they banned you simply for using "too many coupons" (or more than they were comfortable with ... or in a way they were not comfortable with).

    More advanced lessons to come ...

    And some advice on where to go ...

    ... and where NOT to go.

    Please share your experiences and insights through a COMMENT added to this Blog.