Do your prescription medications have you feeling broke? Prescription drugs are expensive, and we are all pinching pennies. Follow my tips on how to save money now!
What is the problem? How much are we spending? Americans are spending more than 200 billion dollars per year in prescription medications and overall healthcare costs are exceeding 2 trillion dollars! This amount of money is nearly incomprehensible. On top of that, the American health care system is rated poorly among other nations of the world. The American free market system has companies wanting to squeeze every penny from your pocket. Learn how to save your money with these easy tips!
1. Always use generic drugs if available (unless brand medically necessary).
There is a huge misconception among many patients that generic drugs may not be as “good” as the brand name. The truth is that generic drugs only become available once the brand name’s patent runs out. Typically after about 7 years of a drug being in the market, generic companies can make the drug. Generic drugs are much cheaper due to the fact that the companies do not need to undergo extensive clinical trials which normally cost upwards of billions of dollars! Generic companies only have to prove that the active drug reaches the patient’s blood stream in a similar manner and time frame as the original with a term called bioequivalence. The difference in a generic are the fillers used in the pill or capsule. Brand names can occasionally be medically necessary due to allergies or small differences in therapy.
2. Free drugs? Use promotions to your advantage!
Why are they giving out free drugs? Many big chain stores, especially grocery and big box stores which are not pharmacy-exclusive, run seasonal promotions for free drugs. Stores that are not pharmacy-exclusive do not depend entirely on the pharmacy’s profits. Overall, the goal is to gain volume into the store as a whole. The bottom line is you can get free prescriptions! To not endorse any particular line of stores or companies, it depends on the store to which catergories of medications are free. Recently I saw a promotion for free antibiotics, free diabetic, cholesterol, and blood pressure medications! Use the internet to find out which stores are carrying promotions at any given time. One unbiased great resource is news for shoppers for great deals.
3. Medication Therapy Management!
Within the last year, medication therapy management is starting to finally take off. Medication therapy management involves a pharmacist going through your medication list 1 on 1. Often times, pharmacists will discover a medication regimen that may not be optimal for the patient. For example, instead of a water pill with your blood pressure medication, the pharmacist may recommend to your physician for you to be placed on a combination pill containing both. The pharmacist may also discover that 2 different physicians prescribed 2 different cholesterol pills. Since most patients are not completely medication savvy, they may have been taking both of them! Overall, medication therapy management can save you money! Some pharmacies and insurance coverage now offer medication therapy management to all patients. Look for improvements in medication therapy management in the near future!
4. Manufacturer Discount Programs
Many drug manufacturers have discount programs for drugs. If you have a condition without a generic drug available, this may be your only option. Unfortunately, certain conditions require drugs that simply cost a fortune to make, pushing the prices to be over-the-top expensive. In addition, some rare conditions require drug cost to be high. Before you take out a 2nd mortgage, try the drug manufacturers website for discounts. A to save big is medicare’s drug discount search tool .
5. Clinical Drug Trials
Occasionally, you will find a new promising drug treatment that may be best for your treatment. Recently my niece was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and put onto a drug trial that saved my family members thousands a month. Additionally working in a hospital pharmacy, I would come across cases of patients on trial with new chemotherapy agents. These patients would save thousands per month to be on a clinical trial of an established drug. If your treatment is expensive and specific, do your research and discuss with your physician for any possible drug trials. Always be extremely cautious with this option as well, as you do not want to become a human test tube!
Overall, pharmaceutical drugs are expensive and leave you feeling broke. If you follow these tips you could keep your wallet thick!
Sources: www.newsforshoppers.com, www.medicaid.gov, http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/medication/american-drug-problem.htm