How Do You Know If You Are Paying Too Much For Suboxone?

There is no slavery but ignorance. -Robert G. Ingersoll

In the United States most physicians in private practice are for-profit businesses. Our free enterprise system allows them to charge what they feel the market will bare and it is up to the individual physicians to accept or not accept private insurance. If you do have insurance, many companies will allow you to submit the claim yourself for direct reimbursement. If your plan covers behavioral health conditions demand they pay your claim. Some insurance companies still feel that they can discriminate against people with addictive disorders. Most states have laws requiring insurance plans to cover addiction treatment. HBO addressed this in their documentary Addiction” and provides some resources. 362_not_covered_by_insurance.html

Patients should shop around to be sure they are receiving reasonable value for the money they are spending. Prices for in-office opioid addiction treatment with buprenorphine range from $75 initial visit plus $60/monthly follow-up visit, to $2,500 and $300-$500/month. The average seems to be $200- $400 for the initial induction visit and $100-$250/month for follow-up visits. The average daily dose of 16mgs costs about $12/day, but that can vary too. Location and density of certified physicians can affect price too. Physicians may offer additional services and programs that will make direct price comparisons difficult. Also consider different patients will require different levels of care and expertise.

Many physicians who get into addiction treatment have been personally touched by addiction in some way. The majority really wants to help and don’t want to overcharge. Like with anything else, there are people out there more interested in the profit and an educated consumer is the best defense. This is where friends and family can really help. Employing the help of friend or family member can be a great asset. When someone is ready to seek treatment, the last thing they want to do is engage in a stressful negotiation, they just want help.

Although economics is important, remember that seeking addiction treatment is a lifesaving decision and in the scope of things any price is ultimately worth it. Nonetheless there is no reason to pay more than you have to. Shop around, interview and compare, but don’t let that delay treatment, starting treatment, and then looking for a better value, is a prudent strategy.

Sometimes you will be able to find studies being conducted in your area. These can be a great way to get top quality treatment for free. You must carefully read the qualifying criteria and the details of the study. Studies that include “blind” or “placebo” mean that you might not be certain you are receiving the medication or a sugar pill. The best are “open label” “phase IV” studies. This means you know what they will be giving you and it is already FDA approved. ( ) keeps a list of ongoing studies.

 If you need financial assistance, Reckitt-Benckiser is offering Rx Assistance. If you go to , you will find all the information you need to apply for Rx Financial Assistance.


Anything that is worth having is worth asking for. Some say yes and some say no. Dr. Melba Colgrove  


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Editor: Deborah Shrira                             Date: February 23, 2009