15 ways to save money on buprenorphine treatment
- updated November 2014 -

  1. Generic buprenorphine sublingual tablets

    – On February 25, 2013 the

    FDA approved generic equivalents for Suboxone®(Bup/Nx) sublingual tablets

    - (not the film) - in 2mg and 8mg sizes. In October 2009 generic Subutex® (Bup) sublingual tablets in 2mg and 8mg sizes were approved. Prices for generics have not yet dropped significantly below brand-name products. Generic buprenorphine  -  Buprenorphine Pipeline
  2. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer's Copay cards

    – Patients can get discounts (see websites for minimum purchases, details and restrictions) of out-of-pocket branded product costs. The copay cards can be printed from the manufacturer's websites and presented to the pharmacist. They can be used to cover all or part of the insurance copay or to save cash-paying patients.
    • Suboxone Film® (Bup/Nx)  -  $50 off - 14 film minimum, can be used once per month. Example; a patient who requires 60 films/month can get $50 off per month of out-of-pocket costs. Patients prescribed 13 films or less are ineligible for the discount. Expires: 12/31/2014
    • Zubsolv® (Bup/Nx)  -  This card provides a $2.50 discount off each tablet (no minimum), toward out-of-pocket costs, up to $225 per use and can be used multiple times per month. Example; a cash paying patient who requires 60 tablets/month would receive $150 discount per month. Expires: 6/30/2015 Sub-to-Zub Dose Converter Calculator
    • Bunavail (Bup/Nx)buccal film  -  With this card your first prescription is FREE (see details). After that, the card can be used to save up to $100 off out of pocket costs exceeding $10. You must provide your name and address to enroll in the discount program. Sub-Bunavail Dose Conversion Calculator
  3. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer's FREE meds program

    –Some manufacturers of buprenorphine products have launched patient assistance programs (PAP) to help low income patients afford their medication. Some patients qualify for FREE medication for up to a year. Each program have their own procedures, qualification criteria, restrictions and rules. Click to find details about the Suboxone Film PAP and the Zubsolv PAP.
  4. Marketing research opportunities

    – Occasionally, research firms want to survey patients in buprenorphine treatment and often offer some sort of honorarium, usually

    $25-$100 depending on the length of the survey

    . These are typically anonymous and take 5-20 minutes to complete. and will post listings of opportunities once they become available and are verified as legitimate.
  5. Buy your own drug test kits online

    – Most physicians conduct

    urine tests for illicit drugs

    at each office visit. Often, the urine is sent to a lab for processing, this can be expensive. If the physician is willing, the patient can purchase drug test kits online for under $10. This could save hundreds depending on how often and how many drugs are tested for.
  6. Third-party prescription discount cards

    – There are a number of discount cards available from sources like AAA, some pharmacy chains and discount prescription websites. The discussion board has an area dedicated to discussing these cards and gives the opportunity to hear from people who actually used them.

    Each card has its own conditions

    , terms and discount rate. Details
  7. Addiction Treatment Insurance

    – If the physician doesn't accept private insurance,

    claims can be submitted to the insurer for direct reimbursement

    . Check the insurer's website for the self-reimbursement forms or contact the insurer's claims department for the proper forms and instructions. Many patients do this successfully as

    many physicians still do not accept insurance for buprenorphine treatment

    . More on insurance
  8. Partial prescription dispensing

    – If patients can't afford the entire prescription all at once, they can ask the pharmacy to dispense a partial prescription. This type of partial dispensing should not count as a refill. Although this doesn't actually save any money, it may be a way to afford to stay in treatment when there isn't enough money to purchase the entire prescription.
  9. Clinical trials/studies with buprenorphine

    – Can be a source of both

    free medication


    free medical care

    , although the patient will be subject to whatever conditions are set up in the study.

    Look for open label Phase IV studies

    which means the medication is already FDA approved and you will know what medication is being provided.
  10. Negotiate with the provider

    – Patients may be able to

    negotiate a lower price

    with their physician or counselor, particularly if you have been a long-term stable patient.
  11. Less frequent office visits

    – As the patient stabilizes, s/he can request to have less frequent office visits. Although physicians commonly require patients to come in for appointments every month to monitor the patient's progress,

    schedule III medications can be refilled up to 5 times in a 6 month period

    . Visit frequency is ultimately determined by the physician, but it doesn't hurt to ask, particularly for those

    stable in long-term addiction remission

    and those who get therapy or counseling from other sources. Some states however, overrule the physician's judgment and have set minimum periods between office visits.
  12. Lower buprenorphine dose

    – If the patient has been stable for several months, s/he may find that a

    lower dose still suppresses cravings and withdrawal symptoms

    . Discuss this with the physician, of course, to make sure that no more medication is being taken, and paid for, than is needed to maintain addiction remission. Also,

    doses above the patient's ceiling dose provide little, if any, additional benefit

    . The correct dose is the lowest dose which still suppresses cravings and withdrawal.
  13. Physician Referral fee

    – Some physicians will provide a referral fee or discount when patients are directly referred to treatment.
  14. Methadone Clinics (OTPs)

    – Some methadone clinics (OTPs) also offer buprenorphine. This varies state to state and clinic to clinic but it

    may be subsidized in some way

    and available at reduced cost. However, find out the rules and dispensing criteria for each clinic beforehand, which

    often initially consists of daily witnessed dosing at the clinic

  15. Shop around

    – Shopping around for a good value is

    not what is meant by the term "doctor shopping"

    which refers to seeing several doctors for the same ailment without the other doctor's knowledge. The intention of "doctor shopping" is to obtain multiple prescriptions, often opioid pain relievers, from multiple doctors.

    Shopping around for a good value is prudent

    so long as it doesn't delay the commencement of life-saving treatment. One strategy is to

    begin treatment immediately then search for better value

    later. See doctor shopping

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6 ways to find buprenorphine treatment – Not all doctors can prescribe buprenorphine. In fact only about 22,170 of the 800,000 U.S. physicians (2.7%) have the necessary credentials to prescribe it for addiction. In addition those who can prescribe have limits on how many patients they can treat.

To become certified doctors must take an 8-hour course and file a request. This can be done online. See this link for more information You can ask your doctor to become certified.

Click Here for the Six Ways to Find Buprenorphine Treatment

Patients and Prescribing Physicians. Patients and prescribing physicians can now order a free "in case of emergency" wallet card that alert healthcare workers that buprenorphine can affect opioid pain medication.

NAABT Emergency Medical Information

The card also lists a link to this web page: with important relevant links useful if opioid pain treatment becomes necessary. Simply email us a mailing address to send the card to at

Voluntary Disclosure: Some of the funding for this organization is provided by anonymous donors whose lives were touched by evidence-based addiction treatment and were willing to help support our mission. NAABT, Inc. has also asked for and accepted funding from pharmaceutical companies in the form of "Unrestricted Educational Grants." The grants are "unrestricted" so that there are no "strings" attached. NAABT, Inc. has complete control over how the funds are used, there are no restrictions on the content or mission of this site, and donors have no control over the content of the site or NAABT's activities. NAABT, Inc. is solely responsible for all of its activities. Click here to learn more about NAABT.

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment NAABT, Inc. • P.O. Box 333 • Farmington, CT 06034 Fax: 860.269.4391 • email: