FUDiabetes

Best pharmacy chain for Dexcom?

Seems like my 2019 plans got more complicated recently and would like to incrementally fix one complication by switching to one of the national chain pharmacies for my Dexcom G5 sensors and transmitters. Looking for feedback on which national chain (Walgreens, Costco, Kroger, etc.) is most capable of processing Dexcom orders without too much confusion.

Back in December I had finally gotten through to my insurer that Edgepark was unable to properly supply me with sensors and transmitters. This was due to a tortuous 5 week delay caused by incompetence and poor communication at both ends (insurer and Edgepark), such as pre-authorization paperwork delayed by many weeks by being faxed back and forth repeatedly to the “wrong fax number” at both ends. To my short term delight, I was given “special permission” to order sensors and transmitters from my pharmacy although they are still handled as DME with inflated costs, 20% co pay, etc. The first order went fine however my second order has been plagued by people at my local pharmacy who have never heard of a Dexcom CGM before and consequently have difficulty figuring out how to process my order. I would like to find a national chain that can handle Dexcom sensors and transmitters without confusion, and hopefully with somewhat reasonable prices.

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Mine come from Advanced Diabetes Supply—very easy to work with.

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@John58 if you are paying out of pocket (no insurance) and are a Costco member, they have a significantly reduced price for members. Prices are posted in this post.

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Thanks for the feedback on them…unfortunately mail order will not work for me. I’m trying to find a national chain where somebody local can get my prescriptions, insurance info etc entered correctly in the system and then I would have the ability to get refills when I am travelling, including Dexcom G5 sensors and transmitter when needed. So far it looks like Kauai, Kansas and NJ are on my 2019 trip schedule plus driving trips around the western US.

I have a friend who gets Dexcom transmitters from Walgreens and they’ve never mentioned a problem. Not sure why she does that bc we have the same insurance and mine comes from mail order.

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Thank you! I’ll be giving Walgreen’s a try for the Dexcom. When Libre came out I bought some there with cash and they seemed fine…time will tell I guess.

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When I first started dexcom, it was covered as pharmacy, not DME. I got mail order through Foundation Care. They were great.

As pharmacy, I also had low co-pay, $40 per 3 month supply. Didn’t take my insurance folks long to figure out dexcom was not quite the same as BG strips. That was about 10 years ago. But I think FC still does pharmacy billing.

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Sorry to hijack here… but in Canada we order direct from Dexcom. They have an online store I can buy directly from with no middleman :grinning:

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Just an update:
Walgreen’s has pharmacy technicians working their online chat for price inquiries who don’t know what a CGM transmitter is. Today they told me (1) I have to speak with the local Walgreen pharmacist to find out my price/co pay for the G5 sensors and transmitter, which I plan to do tomorrow, and (2) the “list price” for one transmitter is $17,096 and $896 for a 30 day supply of G5 sensors. LOL. I have no idea how they came up with those numbers but I have no doubt they reported whatever prices the Walgreen’s system gave based on GIGO. My guess is I would be buying 30 transmitters all at once for that price?

These erroneous Walgreens list prices illustrate my concern I am trying to fix. When I call my local pharmacist to re-order Dexcom transmitter and sensors, he has no idea what a Dexcom CGM is because he apparently has no other patients using it and that causes delays, long phone calls about what exactly they are ordering for me, etc. The owner seems to get it but the people who work there do not. I want to switch to a national chain pharmacy for Dexcom supplies (the only other option available to me from my insurer) but ideally would like to find a national chain with people handling orders who have at least basic knowledge of a Dexcom transmitter and sensors so they won’t waste my time and delay my sensors.

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Competitive pricing!

I do hope you can find this. The skeptical side of me imagines that you are going to have to educate pharmacists and pharmacy techs on this no matter where you go if you have to go the brick and mortar route.

Unrelated, back when I was really, really struggling on Lantus and tried some things my endo recommended and I deviated from his very loose recommendation…and I ended up in the ER getting rehydrated to fight off oncoming DKA…in an effort to problem solve what ALL went wrong for me, I ended up calling five local pharmacy locations and asking them how they handle insulin pens. The answers were astounding. Ultimately, should it matter based on what we’ve learned on FUD about the true stability of insulin? Probably not. But either way, I was AMAZED at how different each store responded. One basically said, “Who’s asking? We won’t discuss it.”. One said, “Insulin pens might sit out for a few days if you’re late picking them up.” One said, “If we’re busy, it may take seven hours from when the tech gets it ready to when the pharmacist signs off on it. It would sit on the counter that whole time.” Another said, “We don’t allow insulin pens to sit out for more than 10 minutes. We have a sticker system we use to ensure this happens. No other store should let them sit out for longer than 10 minutes.” And the last one said, “Cardboard is a really good insulator so it doesn’t matter how long the pens sit out.”

Anyway…I’ve had to educate my local pharmacy on a few things about different scripts and authorizations, but they have been great about being willing to learn and work with me. That’s what I look for in a pharmacy now. Bc I haven’t found one who already knows these things.

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I share your concern about potentially buying spoiled insulin caused by mishandling. I have trusted my local pharmacy to follow best practices but realize the insulin can get spoiled further up the supply chain.The study that increased my awareness of this issue was (abstract only): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1932296817747292

As for the Dexcom pharmacy search, I spoke with the pharmacist at Walgreen and was told they can not get G5 supplies. Meanwhile, the tech at the front told me the standard “have your prescription sent over and we’ll see what we can do” which I am unwilling to waste time with. On that basis I ordered a box of sensors from my locals and will make the switch next month. To illustrate my dilemma, this morning I got the call that sensors are ready to pick up. I showed up and was told to come back tomorrow, somebody there made a mistake when calling me. They are nice people but can’t seem to handle the orders for some reason. I’ve stuck with them for many years because I have a friend who worked there (but she is retiring and is now only 2 mornings a week) and they are a small biz who tries to give personal service.

Dexcom suggested CVS or Walmart. I chatted with the people at a CVS near me and they assured me they can provide G5 sensors and transmitters. However, I will need to get into their system to find out the price/co-pay. Next month for that.

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Yeah, this happens to me all the time with test strips. So annoying.

When I called around to five local pharmacies…they were all part of the same national chain. There was SO much variation in competence from location to location in the same city area.

Good luck with everything!

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Figured I’d update the old thread with results…there is no best pharmacy chain with my insurance company! I cracked the code by multiple phone calls and now use a refill procedure with my local pharmacy that actually works: I call the Pharmacy Benefits department at my insurance, they put an “override code” on my account, and then I call the pharmacy for refills. The insurance company finally explained to me that they have no way in their system to distinguish between G5 sensors and transmitters, so sensor refills were “using up” my G5 transmitter refills. This caused confusion, requests for more pre authorizations, etc. at every pharmacy I tried.

I also found that my 20% copay prices at chain pharmacies were no lower than at my local pharmacy, and were universally lower than I had been paying Edgepark under DME.

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The local pharmacy which I go to which is a national chain, also did not have any idea about the Dexcom.

I provided the NDC codes for them - prior to obtaining a script from the Doc. The Pharmacist Tech entered the NDC codes (G6 Transmitter and G6 Sensors) into the computer and verified that the pharmacy was able to obtain those NDC codes.

I didn’t bother asking about pricing because I wasn’t going to believe any of it anyhow plus it would have been a very frustrating conversation for no point.

After checking with the Pharamacy and providing the NDC codes, I had the Doc send in a script to the pharmacy in which I had very carefully provided the Doc with what I wanted the script to say.

The pharmacy placed the order (after receiving the script from the Doc) which took one extra day as they clearly did not have this in stock but were able to overnight the product in for me.

When I went to pick up the Dexcom supplies (1 transmitter and 1 box containing 3 G6 sensors), I checked the dates on the boxes (all very current) and checked the pricing. If price was outside what I was willing to pay, I would just instruct them to return it to stock. As it turned out, the pricing was exactly the same as when I order DME direct from Dexcom so I was entirely pleased.

The sensors were put on auto-reorder so the next month, it all went through automatically with no intervention required from me. Super smooth.

I was told that they could not put the transmitter on auto-reorder so I would have to let them know when I needed a reorder on the transmitter. That seemed more than reasonable to me.

:stuck_out_tongue:

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I’ve had a very different experience ordering from Walgreens, and I figure posting about it may help others. A dexcom rep was actually the one who suggested I get set up with Walgreens, so maybe dexcom and walgreens now have some partnership or training for pharmacists?

Anyways, I use Walgreens Community Pharmacy (not sure if there’s a distinction with regular Walgreens) in Philadelphia, and each time I’ve called in, the pharmacists I’ve talked to seem like they know what they’re talking about (with at least knowing the distinctions between sensors and transmitters) and they seem like they get other dexcom orders and have experience filling them. I really prefer using them because, after all the talks with my insurance company, dexcom, and MD, all I had to do was call them and ask for the supplies I’d like. They deliver to my house which is really nice, and since I’ve hit my deductible, I have my sensors autoshipping to me.

I may have gotten lucky with the pharmacists I’ve talked to or it’s been this Walgreens specifically, but I think they’ve had great customer service and have made my life a lot easier!

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This may be too late for anyone but I recently started Dexcom G6 and none of the pharmacies knew what I was talking about. The Dexcom rep recommended Costco, and they know all about it. Couldn’t have been easier, I call in a refill and it’s there the next day. My insurance covers it (well you know, part of it, I have a copay). Try Costco.

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