For many Americans, prescription drugs are a daily part of our everyday lives. Unfortunately, they can also be a huge drain on our bank accounts. So, how we can continue to stay adherent (take our medication as prescribed), but not break the bank?
Here are 9 ways to save on prescription drugs …
1. Check your formulary
If you have a prescription drug plan, you have what is called a formulary. This is a list of drugs that are covered by your plan. If your drug isn’t on this list, it might not be covered at all, or it might be much more expensive.
TIP: Ask your doctor if there’s another drug that would work for you that IS on your formulary.
2. Ask for a generic or therapeutic equivalent (a different drug with the same effect)
Most of the time, generic drugs are just as effective as their brand-name counterparts. They have been approved by the FDA just like brand-name drugs. Talk to your doctor about whether or not this is an option for you. If there is no generic available there may be other similar drugs that are less expensive.
TIP: Ask your doctor to prescribe the less expensive drug if he believes it would be just as effective.
3. Look into prescription discount cards
In addition to prescription drug plans, there are also prescription discount cards. These cards are issued by drug companies or other independent companies and can help you save up to 70% on some prescription medications. Many prescription discount cards are free, some are a small monthly fee. You can search for these cards online or check your doctor’s office or local pharmacy for one.
You can use one whether or not you have prescription-drug insurance. Sometimes the prices will be better with a discount card than with insurance.
TIP: Not all prescription drug discount cards are the same. It might even be worth trying a few different ones to see which saves you the most money on your particular prescriptions.
4. $4 generics programs
Many pharmacies, like Walmart for example, have $4 prescription drug programs. Check to see if your medications are on the list. Not all pharmacies have the same list, so check around. It could save you a lot!
TIP: Sometimes if you have insurance, they’ll run the drug through your insurance instead of applying the $4 price tag. Make sure you watch out for this.
5. Free antibiotics
Did you know some pharmacies have free antibiotics? That’s right, antibiotics free of charge! Ask your pharmacy about this and other free programs, like free prescription-strength prenatal vitamins.
6. Shop around
Prescription drugs are not the same price at all pharmacies. Home Delivery and local pharmacy A, B, and C could all have different prices. Check around and see which pharmacy offers the best value. Keep in mind, Home Delivery may look like it’s more expensive, but you’re usually getting a 90-day supply instead of a 30 day supply.
TIP: Feel comfortable calling around to different pharmacies for prices. They’ll want to know the drug name, strength, and the name of your prescription-drug insurance/pharmacy benefit manager. This information should be on your prescription bottle and prescription ID card.
7. Patient Assistance Programs
Some drug makers have patient assistance programs for patients who can’t afford to pay for their medication. Each has their own guidelines, but it’s worth checking into if you’re under- or un-insured.
TIP: Find out which company makes your drug, and then go online and search for that company’s patient assistance program.
Similar to patient assistance programs, RxOutreach is a nonprofit charity that offers some medications to patients who may not be able to afford them. Find out if you qualify.
9. Veterans: Use the VA
If you or a spouse has served our country (thank you!), you are eligible for VA benefits. The Department of Veteran Affairs has a list of medications that you can get at a reduced cost. To get these prescriptions, you need to see a VA doctor and get a prescription from that doctor. There can sometimes be a long waiting list, but the savings are substantial, so it’s worth it. For more information, visit: www.va.gov.