As I went to the pharmacy today to get more allergy meds (thank you Austin) I heard the guy in front of me exclaim, “That will be how much?” It was just another reminder of the sticker shock we all face with our medications. Prescriptions tend to be a difficulty for many of us as we these medications to help us get better but the cost can vary so much from store to store. High prices can prohibit from the wellness and peace of mind they seek.
1) “Is there a generic for that?”
This should be the first question you ask when calling around for meds if you are paying out of pocket as it can save you 25-80 percent. Some may argue that there is a slight variation in the formulation of the drug, but the FDA mandates that the drugs is the bioequivalent to the original in most every way. The differences tend to be size, shape, color, taste, and inactive ingredients. See here for more info on this. If generics aren’t available, talk to your doctor to see if there might be another medication that might work that is a generic.
2) Learn about your options.
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs was launched by Consumer Reports to help people identify cost effective options for a number of conditions. This information is free to access.
3) Shop around online.
Compare drug costs online from multiple sources like Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, drugstore.com. Many big pharmacies bury their pricing information as they know it isn’t as competitive as it could be. However, they will advertise a sale on Claritin or Flu shots to pull you in for your other prescriptions.
4) Talk to your doctors about all of your medications.
As people get older or have more tricky conditions, I often see them on medications that seem to be duplicating the effects of other medications. Talking with your doctor and having your doctors connect, could help reveal over medication and unnecessary expenses. It’s also helpful to point out if a particular medication is an issue cost wise as there might be a sample, a coupon, or another option that might be better. Make sure to voice those concerns as your prescriber won’t know unless you tell them.
5) Check out mail-order and ordering online.
Why go to the pharmacy at all if it can be delivered directly to your door? Granted, you can’t do this for all medications but for the ones you can, it is a no brainer. Many help plans have this option and it will help you to save both time and up to 30 percent in savings. Often you can get a 3 month supply which is another wonderful incentive.
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Read our whole series:
Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions: Part One
Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions: Part Two
Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions: Part Three