After hiking I came back with an eye infection and an allergic reaction. After taking my prescriptions to CVS I learned they would cost $380. First I used the Destination Rx website to find possible generic equivalents to the prescriptions. I then talked with the pharmacist about these generic alternatives. After physician approval for generic substitution the price was down to $250. I asked the price of different pill concentrations. I found thirty 100 mg pills cost $38 whereas thirty 50 mg pills cost $36 for one drug. I contacted my physician who was willing to prescribe the higher dosage with directions for me to split the pills. The Pharmacist did let me know that not all pills can be split. Next I contacted the pharmaceutical manufacturers and inquired about trial packs. One e-mailed me a coupon for a free 30-day trail pack of a drug. Next I called several physicians’ offices to ask if they had samples. Pharmaceutical representatives often give physicians samples. After seeing my prescription several gave me samples saving me about $10.
I then went online with my smart phone and checked InternetDrugCoupons.com and NeedyMeds.org. I download one 30-day free trial coupon and other coupons which saved me over $50. Next I call several pharmacies to find which had the lowest prices for each of the 4 remaining pills needed. The price of a 30-day supply of one pill at CVS was $30 more than at a Wal-Mart. However Wal-Mart was more expensive for a different pill. I then used the Low RX App to compare prices of pharmacies in the adjacent city. The ap also gave me a few coupons. By being willing to go to 4 different pharmacies and using the Low RX app couple I saved $40. One of these pharmacies was Costco. I learned Costco allows non-members to buy prescription drugs at their stores with no extra fee. I spoke with the customer service staff at each store to find out about discounts and was given $2-$5 off at 3 of the pharmacies. At CVS I signed up for the loyalty program which gave me a $5 off coupon for a new prescriptions.
Last but not least I consulted with the pharmacist prior to ordering the prescription. I learned that for two of the allergy medicines there were over the counter alternatives. They were actually the same chemical as the prescription drug, but in a slightly lower concentration. Purchasing these saved me about 20% so the total cost for a 30-day supply of all the drugs together was $18.
I saved more on my 90-day refill. I went to online venders. I made sure I only used U.S. online pharmacies for my peace of mind. The prices were about 5% less for a 30-day supply and 10% less for a 90-day supply. I paid for the prescriptions with a rewards credit card so I received 1% cash back. Additionally I saved by setting up a Health Saving Account through my employer. This allowed me to get reimbursement for the prescriptions I bought with pre-tax dollars so save a bit more.
Additionally there are assistance programs. I did not qualify, but I found the details about these online at the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPARX) website. In many cases drugs are available to income qualifying people at little or no cost. Several of the programs advertised same day sign-up. Additionally several pharmaceutical manufacturers have a history of giving low income people medicine for free with a valid prescription. On their websites they advertise their accessibility programs. Last but not least I called the nonprofit associated with allergies. In my research to reduce my costs I learned that the American Lung Association and American Cancer Society have programs to help with medicine costs.