One of the biggest costs of medical care are the cost of drugs. Fortunately for many of us, insurance will pay for much of our drug costs, especially if the drug is a generic. However, sometimes we have to pay out-of-pocket for drugs. So then the question is, how can you minimize the cost of getting the prescription drugs you need?
Here are some ideas:
- Let your doctor know your situation. Tell them how much the drug costs (sometimes they are not aware) and that you can’t afford it. Maybe another drug can be used that is slightly less effective, but way less expensive. Because what we see in the drug world is that a new drug comes along that may be 5 percent better than the competitors, but is 200 percent more expensive. Is it really worth it? Also, what often happens is drug companies combine two generic drugs into a single pill or cream, and then jack up the price 10-fold over what the individual components would cost separately! The other thing that will increase the cost of a pill a great deal is when they make the drug into a timed-release formulation, and then re-patent it, again the cost goes way up over the old formulation that maybe has to be taken twice a day rather than once. The other benefit of letting your doctor know about the cost of the drug is that they might have samples they can give you to help you try out the drug free for awhile before laying down a bunch of cash. I have, in the past, been able to give patients samples worth hundreds of dollars.
- Always find out if a generic version is available. The FDA requires that generics be within 10 percent of the bioavailability of the brand name formulation. Generics can be WAY cheaper than brand names. But I would be cautious about getting generics from Walgreens or CVS due to cost, and I suggest the big box stores instead, especially Costco or Sams where you may save a lot more.
- Get a tablet that is twice as large as the dose you need. You then simply cut them in half. Surprisingly, the cost of pills are often the same per pill regardless of the milligrams! So just cut them up, and cut your cost! Now this only applies to tablets, and not all tablets, as some are time-release and shouldn’t be cut. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure.
- Use prescription discount services. Services like GoodRx can save you quite a bit. You simply go to GoodRx.com and type in the name of your drug and see what all the local pharmacies are charging. You can also frequently print out coupons you can take to the pharmacy to save you more.
- Get your meds from another country. If that sounds scary to you, don’t worry. There is a pharmacy service that reviews these foreign pharmacies for reliability, PLUS they post how much the drugs cost through each pharmacy. This type of service is especially valuable for drugs that are not life-or-death drugs like certain heart medications or blood thinners. The site is PharmacyChecker.com. I recommend you try it and see how much you can save on your expensive prescriptions that you have to pay for yourself.
I am all about trying to do healthcare in a more cost-effective manner, so I hope you find these suggestions helpful.