- This story originally appeared in the October 2023 finance issue of COMO Magazine
Next RX offers affordable options compared to traditional pharmacies.
Erica Crane, pharmacist in charge and co-owner of Next RX, has always had a passion for helping others.
“When I got into pharmacy school, I’d been a bio-chem major, and I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to be a doctor, but I want to help people,’” Crane explains, noting that her career began in Columbia with a 15-year stint at D&H Drugstore as a student, then pharmacist, and then pharmacist in charge. Crane also was involved with the Missouri Pharmacy Association and was president of the association in 2014.
Her resume includes involvement in other grassroots movements and talking with legislators about laws that affect her profession.
Crane tried different roles and positions at other pharmacies, but ultimately knew she wanted to set up her own shop to serve the community she comes from.
“I thought, ‘I can do this now. I’ve been out in the field’ — sometimes you just need to take a leap, take a jump,” she adds. And she did. Next RX provides access to providers and cash-only affordable generic prescriptions.
“A lot of independent pharmacies are closing left and right” in the wake of COVID, Crane says. “A lot of them [closed] because they can’t keep their doors open with the current reimbursement models. At the end of the day, pharmacies are still a business, and someone has to pay for the medication, and if your insurance isn’t going to do it, then who is?”
Next RX offers answers to those questions. The pharmacy provides access to online, drive-through, and retail services. The team works to find the best deals for their customers, often saving customers as much as 80 percent off the retail price of generic medications. Via the Next Rx website, customers can search for specific medications and find out the pricing Next RX offers.
Crane is eager to point out the way Next RX offers affordable options to patients who may not understand how their prescription insurance, or how medical insurance and co-pays affect what they pay out of pocket. She stresses that name-brand prescriptions can be pricey and problematic when it comes to billing.
“People with plans with high deductibles are often way, way over-charged. Nobody sees anything behind the scenes, in terms of what’s actually being billed to your insurance,” Crane says. “A medication could cost about three dollars a bottle, but then you have this thing called AWP – actual wholesale price – and that is what insurance is billed on. It could be five hundred dollars for the same bottle, and that’s what’s getting hit on someone’s insurance. That’s when I have people come to me and ask me what their medicine actually costs, and they give me this ‘too good to be true’ response. And I tell them, ‘There’s no reason you should be paying that much.’”
Crane says the team members at Next RX likes to think of themselves as an “altruistic pharmacy,” which makes her proud. “We fill a need that people don’t always know they need.”