Meet Rx Savings Solutions and Its Market-Leading Pharmacy Solution

With its proprietary software service, RxSS is driving medication costs down while increasing adherence.



Read time: 4 minutes

Michael Rea had encountered the scenario more times than he could count. A patient would approach the pharmacy counter where he worked, only to be met with sticker shock over the price of their medication.

“I’d do my best to answer their questions or offer an encouraging word of advice,” explains Rea, PharmD, founder and CEO of Rx Savings Solutions. “But the reality of working in a high-volume retail pharmacy was that you simply didn’t have the time to dig in and understand the specific details behind the high price of their medications, nor did you necessarily have the ability to try to help them navigate those challenges the way that we can today.”

Michael Rea

Michael Rea, PharmD, CEO of Rx Savings Solutions

Then in walked Betty. Betty had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. She was on eight medications – every one of which was critical to managing her conditions. But on that particular day, she asked Rea which two of her eight medications she could skip. She was living paycheck to paycheck, and the cost of her numerous prescriptions had simply become too much.

“There were no nice-to-haves among her list of medications,” he explains. “So when she asked which ones she could skip, that’s very different than asking how she can save money.”

That night, Rea went home and spent six and a half hours learning about each of her medications. He researched pricing and therapeutically similar drugs. He looked at her formulary – the preferred list of drugs her employer health plan offered at a lower cost. He examined all options on the table, and the next day he walked her through his recommendations and suggested she consult with her physician to see if any of them could work.

Following Rea’s suggestions, Betty saved $250 that month and was able to fill all eight of her medications. Ultimately, that interaction served as the catalyst for the creation of Rx Savings Solutions (RxSS), a prescription price transparency and benefit insight company acquired by McKesson last year.

“I realized that as a pharmacist immersed in this environment every day, it still took me six and a half hours to find her a workable solution,” he explains. “So imagine how hard it must be to be a consumer trying to navigate this space on your own. I knew the problem was real, but experiencing it firsthand inspired me to find a way to solve it.”

The affordability problem Rea mentions is pervasive. According to the forthcoming 2023 CoverMyMeds Medication Access Report, 60% of people experience sticker shock at the pharmacy counter, leading one in four people to abandon their medication. And 33% of patients said that they’ve stretched out a prescription by taking a lower dose or skipping doses. Among those who did so, 28% explained that they couldn’t afford their medications.

That’s where RxSS has been making a difference for patients since it was founded in 2008. The pharmacy software company now serves 18 million members (patients) and works with health plans, large, self-funded employers, benefit consultants and the public sector to provide transparency in prescription drug prices and help lower their spend on those medications. Since its creation 15 years ago, the company’s pharmacists have curated roughly 38,000 savings suggestions.

The process is simple. Their proprietary technology solution takes in all of the required data from members – their medication history, prescription claims, formulary tier and plan design – and then finds every possible way to save them money. This could include finding the same medication for less at a different pharmacy, a generic drug substitution, or less expensive therapeutic alternatives. From there, members can receive automated alerts on personalized saving suggestions via their preferred method of contact, be it text, email, phone call or direct mail.

RXSS Portal Trio
Rx Savings Solutions’ suggestions are accessible across multiple modes of communication and devices.  

“We organize all of these very complex details that would be too difficult for patients to understand or navigate, and simplify all of that information in one click,” Rea says. “Our goal is to make this so easy for consumers that they trust RxSS and want to take action based on the information we’re providing them.”

And while the cost-cutting advantage to members is inherently clear, payers and employers benefit in numerous ways as well. Most payers – health insurance companies and employer-sponsored health plans – take on the greatest share of a covered drug’s total cost over the course of a year. When members change to lower-cost prescriptions, the health plan saves money as well. Typically, for every dollar a member on the plan saves on their medications, the employer typically saves two.

But affordability isn’t the only long-term benefit the company’s solutions enable. The more patients take action based on the saving opportunities RxSS provides them, the more likely they are to stay adherent to their medications as well.

That translates to better health outcomes – a purpose that McKesson is dedicated to advancing for all.

“At the end of the day, we have a platform that’s done very well in serving our 18 million members to date,” Rea says. “We can do even better now that we’ve joined McKesson and serve even more members. There are millions of Bettys out there we would love to help.”