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Prescription Savings

7 Tips for Saving Money on Medicine

Posted on 10/15/2012 12:22 EST

Thank goodness for medication: It speeds up recovery, cures common illnesses, and keeps chronic diseases under control. But for all the benefits of modern medicine, it does come with a major downside: the cost. Luckily there are prescription savings to be found. Next time you visit your doctor, keep these cost-cutting techniques in mind:

Photo by flickr.com/75536060@N07

1. Opt for generics.

Generic prescription drugs cost an average of 80 to 85 percent less than their brand-name counterparts, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That adds up to serious prescription savings. The FDA assures consumers there is no need to worry about safety or quality: Generic medications are just as effective and include the same active ingredients as brand-name products.

2. Compare prices.

DestinationRx lets consumers shop around for the cheapest forms of prescription medications. You must register with the site and enter the name, dose, and quantity of your medication to see a list of less expensive alternatives. Warehouse clubs such as Costco tend to offer substantial prescription savings. Costco displays price information on its website and offers even better deals to customers who lack insurance coverage for prescription drugs.

3. Look for discount programs.

Walmart, Target, and some major chain pharmacies charge only $4 for a 30-day supply of many commonly prescribed generic medications. These programs don't come with extra fees or membership costs. Check to see if any grocery chains near you offer similar prescription savings through discount programs. At ShopRite, for instance, a 90-day supply of certain medications costs only $10. AARP also offers a discount program that covers all FDA-approved prescription drugs and provides delivery by mail.

4. Buy in bulk.

For drugs you take month after month, mail order promises prescription savings. Ask your physician if you can order a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply. By buying in a larger quantity, you can wind up paying less per dose, and with insurance, you will be charged only one co-pay instead of three.

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5. Ask about splitting pills.

In many cases, pills cost about the same no matter how much medication they contain. For example, a supply of 100 mg pills likely costs little more than a bottle of 50 mg pills but delivers twice as much of a particular drug. Ask your physician or pharmacist if your prescription is safe for pill splitting. If the answer is yes, request that your doctor order twice the required dosage and explain how to safely split the pills.

6. Try samples before you buy.

If your doctor wants to put you on a new drug, ask if he or she can provide samples so you can try a few doses for free before you pay to have a prescription filled. Some doctors may be even more generous, depending on their stock of samples.

7. Use coupons.

Coupons aren't just for toiletries and groceries; they also offer prescription savings. Search sites such as Internet Drug Coupons to find manufacturer coupons and free trials from pharmaceutical companies. You can also check to see who manufactures your prescriptions and go directly to the drug company's website. Many offer free 30-day trials or coupons.

No matter which strategy you use, safety should always be your first priority. Never feel awkward telling your doctor that a prescription is too expensive and you're seeking a more affordable alternative. Have an open discussion about all the available options.

by Alyssa Goldman (Google+ Profile)

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