So much talk about lowering healthcare cost, especially when it comes to medications! But how about providing information on drug cost to prescribers who can compare drug costs prior to prescribing? This is an approach taken by a Bay Area startup – Gemini Health – who came up with a platform that enables prescribers to view and compare drug cost. San Francisco Chronicle describes the platform as “an online ‘shopping’ tool for doctors that, as they’re preparing to prescribe medications to their patients, generates a list of similar drugs and their out-of-pocket costs to patients — based on each patient’s insurance plan.”

Gemini Health integrates drug information with electronic health records at the point-of-care, meaning that before physicians write prescriptions they can view and discuss the cost of medication, including the cost of alternative drugs (e.g. a tablet versus an inhaler) and mail-order options. The platform also enables employers to compare and better control drug spending.

Interestingly, prescribers usually have no idea how much medications cost and whether there are cheaper alternatives available. As a result, patients often do not fill their prescriptions because they simply cannot afford them. A possible solution to this problem is the informed decision approach, which is welcomed by many prescribers. For example, Blue Shield of California has signed up with Gemini Health which now provides drug information to its prescribers.