How to Save Time and Money on Your Prescription

Duke's pharmacy benefit offers convenient options

Michael Juday with his wife, Tina. Photo courtesy of Michael Juday.
Michael Juday with his wife, Tina. Photo courtesy of Michael Juday.

After Michael Juday’s wife was diagnosed in 2019 with Crohn’s, a disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, she had to go on medicine that typically costs $32,000 for an 84-day subscription.

But because of Duke’s pharmacy benefit, the couple pays $130 every 84 days to reduce Tina’s abdominal pain, fatigue and digestive issues.

“It makes me feel great knowing that Duke understands how important it is to give employees and their families medications at a low price,” said Juday, audio/video specialist for Duke Health Technology Solutions who orders his wife’s medicine through a Duke pharmacy.

Duke partners with Express Scripts, a national pharmacy benefit provider, for all four Duke medical plans. Express Scripts manages prescriptions for mail order and at retail and participating Duke on-site pharmacies.

In 2020, Duke covered nearly 68,500 employees and dependents through the pharmacy benefit, filling about 1 million prescriptions and paying $77.6 million of the $88.5 million for medications.

Here’s how the benefit can save you time and money.

Special delivery

Express Scripts offers mail-order for long-term maintenance (90-day supplies) of medication for conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma.

To get started, your doctor can electronically send new prescriptions to Express Scripts. Express Scripts Mail Order Pharmacy will then mail you the medicine. You can request mail order yourself by calling Express Scripts, and refills can be done through, phone or mail or through the Express Scripts mobile app.

Victoria Lee Jackson Carter, Express Scripts senior clinical account executive at Duke, said that filling a 90-day supply increases the likelihood medication is taken regularly by making refills more convenient.

“The less likely you are to run out of your medication, the better you are at adhering to your prescription and improving your health,” Carter said.

Go generic

With a low deductible and reasonable co-pays, the pharmacy benefit keeps staff and faculty from shouldering most of the cost, and selecting a generic prescription offers savings. For example, Venlafaxine, a general antidepressant prescription, costs $25 for 90 days compared to $180 for a brand supply.

Curbside convenience

You can pick-up prescriptions for any medicine in-person or curbside from the Duke Outpatient Pharmacy, Duke Children’s Retail Pharmacy, Duke Cancer Center Specialty Pharmacy, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke Campus Center Pharmacy on West Campus.

After a provider places an order, call the pharmacy to select curbside pick-up. Curbside parking is free, and prescription payment is collected by phone.

Gene Rhea, associate chief pharmacy officer for Duke Health, said curbside pick-up was started in April to reduce foot traffic inside buildings during the pandemic.

“It was a popular decision that we will keep going forward,” Rhea said.

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