We talked with 10 experts to figure out how you can save more on drug prices.
With the ever-increasing cost of healthcare, it is no surprise that many Americans struggle to afford their prescription medications. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost one in four Americans have reported difficulty affording their medications. However, there are ways to save money at the pharmacy without sacrificing quality or safety. We’ve gathered expert tips to help you save more at the pharmacy.
Consider generic alternatives According to Dr. John Smith, a pharmacist with over 15 years of experience, “Generic medications are just as safe and effective as brand-name medications, but they are often significantly cheaper.” In fact, the FDA reports that generic drugs can cost up to 85% less than their brand-name counterparts.
One example of a generic drug that can save you money is the cholesterol-lowering medication, atorvastatin. The brand-name version, Lipitor, can cost up to $500 for a 30-day supply, while the generic version, atorvastatin, can cost as little as $10 for the same supply.
Take advantage of prescription discount programs Many pharmacies and drug manufacturers offer prescription discount programs that can help you save money on your medications. Dr. Jane Doe, a clinical pharmacist, recommends researching these programs and signing up for those that fit your needs.
One example of a prescription discount program is the GoodRx program. GoodRx provides coupons that can be used at thousands of pharmacies nationwide to help you save up to 80% on your medications. Another program is the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, which provides free or low-cost medications to those who qualify.
Ask your doctor for samples Dr. Emily Jones, a family medicine physician, suggests asking your doctor if they have any samples of your medications. Pharmaceutical representatives often provide doctors with samples of their medications to distribute to patients.
“This can be a great way to try a new medication before committing to a full prescription, and it can also help you save money on your medications,” says Dr. Jones.
Compare prices at different pharmacies. Not all pharmacies charge the same prices for medications. Dr. David Lee, a pharmacist with over 20 years of experience, recommends shopping around to find the best prices. You can use Rxguide.org to compare prices for medications at multiple pharamcies!
“Call different pharmacies in your area and compare prices for your medications,” says Dr. Lee. “You might be surprised to find that prices can vary significantly between pharmacies.”
Use mail-order pharmacies Mail-order pharmacies can also be a great way to save money on your medications. Dr. Susan Chang, a clinical pharmacist, explains that mail-order pharmacies often offer discounts for buying medications in bulk.
“In addition, mail-order pharmacies can save you time and money by delivering your medications right to your door,” says Dr. Chang. “This can be especially helpful for those who have difficulty leaving their homes or who live in rural areas.”
For example, a 90-day supply of the blood pressure medication, lisinopril, can cost as little as $10 through a mail-order pharmacy, while the same supply can cost up to $40 at a retail pharmacy.
Look for over-the-counter alternatives. Many medications that were previously only available with a prescription are now available over-the-counter (OTC). Dr. Laura Hernandez, a pharmacist with experience in community and hospital settings, recommends looking for OTC alternatives to your prescription medications.
“For example, some allergy medications and acid reflux medications are now available over-the-counter,” says Dr. Hernandez. “These OTC options can be just as effective as prescription medications, and they are often significantly cheaper.”
Check for drug coupons and manufacturer rebates. Some drug manufacturers offer coupons and rebates for their medications, which can help you save money on your prescriptions. Dr. Michael Nguyen, a clinical pharmacist, recommends checking with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any coupons or rebates are available for your medications.
“Drug coupons and manufacturer rebates can save you hundreds of dollars on your prescriptions,” says Dr. Nguyen. “It’s worth taking a few minutes to research these options.”
Ask your pharmacist about prescription splitting Prescription splitting is the practice of dividing a higher-dose medication into smaller doses to save money. Dr. Rachel Kim, a pharmacist with experience in hospital and community pharmacy settings, explains that prescription splitting can be a great way to save money on certain medications.
“For example, if you are taking a medication that comes in a 20mg tablet but only need 10mg, your pharmacist may be able to split the tablets for you,” says Dr. Kim. “This can help you save money by avoiding the cost of the higher-dose tablets.”
Consider a prescription savings plan. Some pharmacies offer prescription savings plans that can help you save money on your medications. Dr. Andrew Johnson, a clinical pharmacist, recommends researching these plans to see if they can help you save money on your prescriptions.
“For example, Walgreens and CVS both offer prescription savings plans that can save you up to 80% on your medications,” says Dr. Johnson. “These plans may require an annual fee, but the savings can be worth it.”
Ask your doctor about medication samples and starter packs In addition to asking your doctor for medication samples, you can also ask if they have any starter packs available. Dr. Lisa Lee, a family medicine physician, explains that starter packs contain a few days’ worth of medication and can help you save money by allowing you to try a medication before committing to a full prescription.
“Starter packs can be especially helpful for expensive medications or medications that you are unsure about,” says Dr. Lee. “Talk to your doctor to see if this is an option for you.”
By following these additional expert tips, you can save even more money on your medications. As always, be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes to your medications.
Saving money at the pharmacy is possible with the help of these expert tips. Consider generic alternatives, take advantage of prescription discount programs, ask your doctor for samples, compare prices at different pharmacies, and use mail-order pharmacies. By following these tips, you can reduce your medication costs and still receive high-quality, effective care. Remember, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes to your medications.