3 Tips to Help You Save on Prescription Medications
October 10, 2014The United States spends almost $1,000 per person each year on prescription drugs, which is more money than any other developed nation. As the demand for prescription medications rise, so do the costs. And because so many Americans can’t afford brand-name pharmaceuticals, there is significant reliance on the generic versions of medications, which has led to the U.S. also being the highest consumer of generic drugs among the developed nations. |
What can you do to save money on prescription drugs?
Discuss alternatives to prescription medicine with your doctor. When prescribed a medication, you should check coverage on your insurance plan’s formulary. If your physician prescribes a brand-name drug that requires a high co-payment, talk to him or her about finding a less expensive brand or a generic equivalent that is covered on your plan.
You can also find out if there is an over-the-counter medication that can be used in lieu of a prescription variation. Over the last decade, many prescription drugs have become available over the counter and you may be able to purchase prescription-strength medications at a lower price than your co-pay would require. Be sure to discuss prices with your pharmacist as well.
Compare pharmacies. Generally, retail chains that are open seven days a week and offer services such as automatic refills, telephonic refill reminders and drive-through windows are often more expensive than the pharmacies operated at discount warehouse club stores, discount retailers and supermarkets. The mark-up on medications subsidizes the additional services.
Once you make your decision, stick with it. Switching pharmacies on a regular basis can lead to medication mismanagement, especially if you have a chronic condition that requires monthly refills. Although your primary care physician can help manage your medications and potential drug interactions, pharmacy computer systems retain a record of your prescription history allowing your pharmacist to intervene when necessary.
Mail-order and online pharmacy services are convenient alternatives that are usually less expensive. You can weed out untrustworthy services by verifying the following:
- The online pharmacy/company requires prescriptions.
- The company is headquartered in the United States, licensed by the state’s board of pharmacy and verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
- Pharmacists are available online or by phone to answer your questions.
Use medications as directed. It’s estimated that 50 percent of adult Americans taking medication fail to follow the directions. This can cause all sorts of problems ranging from poor efficacy to additional health issues that require more medication and additional costs.
Be sure to save your medication bottles and boxes so you always have the instructions and can discuss concerns with your doctors and/or pharmacist. Read more about how better use of medicine could save billions on the MDVIP medical forum.