Families are spending more on healthcare than ever before. This also includes the price paid for prescription drugs. For families, especially those with several members who regularly take prescription drugs, the financial burden can become overwhelming. Families who are struggling with the cost of prescription drugs can reduce their costs through researching which medications are most affordable, finding where to buy these cheaper medications, and through a number of prescription assistance programs.
Often, there are several drugs that will work for a particular condition and some are less expensive than others. Patients should ask their doctor for the least expensive medication available for treating their medical conditions. Generic drugs can also save patients money on prescriptions. Around 80 percent of prescription drugs on the market have generic alternatives. Sometimes, the savings on generic drugs are astounding. For example, at the time of this writing, the average price of a common drug used to treat high cholesterol, Pravachol, is $132. A generic equivalent, Pravastatin, can be purchased through a Wal-Mart pharmacy for $4 for a thirty-day supply.
To compare prices between generic and other drugs, DRX offers a way to easily research costs online.
Wal-Mart and Target pharmacies offer discounts to patients who can add up to substantial savings on prescription drugs. Through Wal-mart’s $4 prescription program, hundreds of generic drugs are available to patients. A thirty-day supply is $4, while a 90-day supply is $10. In addition, Wal-Mart pharmacy offers automatic refills and home delivery options. Target also offers patients discounts drugs and carries a stock of many generic alternatives. Customers can call and get a price for a prescription before having it filled to compare prices. This will save money on gas also by avoiding driving all over town to find the best price on prescriptions.
Once a pharmacy has been decided on, try to fill all prescriptions at the same place to save transportation costs and to develop a relationship with a pharmacist who knows your prescriptions.
Most people are not experts on drug prices and can use a little help in finding the lowest prices. Use the following sites to easily compare drug prices and find the lowest products:
In addition, Consumer Reports has good information on different drugs here.
Discount drug cards
Discount drugs counts can provide significant savings to seniors or to those with no or limited healthcare coverage. There are many different types of discount drug cards that can save patients money. However, not all cards are free. It pays to do research to find out which discount prescription cards offer the best deals. Call the pharmacy in advance to find out if they accept discount drug cards before having a prescription filled. Your RX Card is a free prescription drug card that offers a 75 percent savings on FDA approved drugs at more than 57,000 pharmacies across the nation. The RX Drug Card can cost as little as $4.50 per month. There are 60,000 participating pharmacies that accept this card. They offer up to 80 percent off on selected drugs.
Pharmaceutical company patience assistance
Many pharmaceutical companies offer programs where patients can receive substantial savings on prescription drugs. Check out a pharmaceutical company’s website to see if they offer patient assistance programs (PAPs). The Mereck patients assistance program is available to families with financial hardships who do not have insurance. If approved, patients can receive a year’s worth of free medicine with the option to apply again after the first year. The AstraZeneca patient assistance program is available to individuals who earn $30,000 per year or less or for families of four who earn $60,000 per year or less. The drugs are free and there is no cost to sign up. Healthcare facilities that service low-income areas are also eligible for this program. Needymeds.org is a website where patients can search for pharmaceutical company drug assistance programs by drug name.
Medicare prescription program
Medicare Part D is a federal government program to assist citizens over the age of 65 with healthcare costs. Medicare covers basic prescription services for patients, although not all drugs are covered through this program. For older citizens who may have trouble paying the Medicare insurance premiums, there is a program called Extra Help, The program is available to U.S. citizens with limited resources and will pay up to $4,000 yearly toward Medicare insurance premiums.
State prescription drug assistance programs
Many states offer drug assistance programs to their citizens to assist low-income families with healthcare costs. These programs help make prescription drugs affordable for families who do not have insurance or who are not eligible for other government programs. These programs use state funds to pay a portion of the cost of prescription drugs for needy patients. Each state has its own application procedures and eligibility requirements. At the Medicare.gov website, patients can search for pharmaceutical assistance programs in their state.
Talk to your doctor
Patients may be able to obtain free drug samples from their doctor if they are unable to afford to price of a prescription. Drug companies frequently give doctor’s offices free samples of medication and often; these doctors are willing to give them to their patients for free. For non-urgent illnesses, try an over-the-counter remedy first before visiting the doctor to see if the condition improves. When seeing a doctor, if the cost of the prescription is too high, do not hesitate to communicate this. Often, the doctor can prescribe a cheaper alternative and sometimes doctors know of resources that are not available to the general public.
Know the formulary
Some insurance plans have formularies which state they only cover specific medications. If a doctor prescribes a medication that is not covered, ask for an alternative that is on the list.
It has to be stated that any time or resources invested in staying healthy are highly likely to pay off in lower medical costs as well as all the other benefits.