Recently we received the RXrelief Pharmacy Discount Cards from a company called Healthcare Alliance (or Script Relief, LLC) in the mail. We we're going to toss it in the trash and then I noticed the simple letter that accompanied them and what it said. Was it true? Could I really save money on prescription drugs for nothing? I decided I needed to figure out if this was a scam.
Who is Healthcare Alliance? I've never heard of Healthcare Alliance before. They're name and logo look pretty generic, too. Who are these guys? Where did they get my information? What is their angle? Like every business they have to make money to stay in business. In the letter they talk about providing discounts for over 50,000 medicines.
Other users online have worried that using these cards will provide the company with your personal information. If you got the cards in the mail with your name on the envelope, then they already have all that information and it seems like it would be in dangerous territory to violate HIPAA laws which protects confidential medical information. One user said they make their profit from networking with drug manufacturers.
My Theory: Not a Scam
In order to give you a discount on your medicine, the company providing the discount has to know what "member" used the card and for what. This means that they can track you (the information they already have on your or the information from the pharmacist) and what you buy (birth control, antibiotics, etc.). Then they go to companies that manufacture drugs for those kinds of symptoms. This information could be sold to all those groups or just to the highest bidder. By using the card, you agree to be a member of their network meaning they aren't violating any HIPAA laws by getting your information.
You can get a card right now without providing any of your personal information immediately.
If a company can already provide proof that a person has some association with an illness or disease or that they repeatedly buy a specific medicine, then they have reduced the amount of work the pharmaceutical sales reps would have to do just to find qualified/interested individuals. This means they could turn around and sell a lead for what could be a lot of money.
I spoke with a Hospital Pharmacist who confirmed my theory that information is shared with the discount provider when you use the card.