Saving money at the pharmacy

Thursday, September 25, 2008 10:17
Posted in category Prescriptions

The cost of prescription drugs has increased significantly in recent years and many people are finding it difficult, or even impossible, to afford their medications. Going to other countries, or using the internet to fill your prescriptions is one way to save money, but there are other, less risky alternatives.

First, ask your doctor if he or she has any samples of the medication they can give you, especially if you only need to take the medicine for a short time. A lot of these are given to doctors as free samples by pharmaceutical representatives; your doctor will most likely be happy to give some to you. You may need to ask your doctor about samples, as they might not otherwise think of it because of other things on their minds.

If you have a prescription drug plan and you are prescribed a medication for a long period of time, it’s important to ensure that you have a good understanding of your benefits. Your drug plan may have a formulary, which is a listing of preferred medications. Medication that is on the formulary is likely to be more affordable than similar drugs that are not on it. If your medicine isn’t listed on the formulary, ask your doctor if there is another drug on the list which you could take.

If generic drugs are available, they can be your best option. If you must pay for your medications yourself, you can save a significant amount of money this way. Your co-pay will be lower for generic drugs with many prescription drug plans. Again, ask your doctor if a generic medication would be effective for your treatment.

Mail-order programs are available for a wide range of prescription drug plans. This can be a convenient and cost saving way to get your medications. For about the same price as a one-month supply from your local pharmacy, you can obtain a three-month supply of the same medication.

If you shop at your local pharmacy, using your insurance isn’t always the cheapest method to purchase your medicine. For example, if your insurance charges a flat fee of $15 for generic drugs, but the cost of the drug is only $10, make sure to ask the pharmacy to process your prescription without insurance.

Many grocery stores or mass merchandisers publish coupons in the newspapers that can be used for prescriptions. A number of pharmacies are so keen to have your business, that they will offer you a gift certificate of $10 or $25 if you start filling your prescriptions with them. Transferring a prescription is easy — it usually only takes a phone call to give the new pharmacy information about the prescription.

If you still have trouble paying for your medication, you should ask your doctor about drug manufacturers who offer programs to help. You can often get the necessary paperwork to apply for these programs at your doctor’s office.

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