How to Get Medicines for Less
The best way to reduce your
prescription drug costs is to follow a healthier lifestyle. Improving your diet, exercising
regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking can improve your health
enough that you may be able to give up or take lower doses of expensive medicines.
The following tips from the FDA can help you cut your prescription costs by a lot.
Ask for generics
If your healthcare
provider prescribes a brand-name drug, always ask if there’s a drug in the generic
Generics cost 30% to 80% less, on average, than brand names. They also usually have
lower insurance copays.
Generics that are sold in the U.S. have to meet the same FDA quality and performance standards
as the same brand-name drug.
Prices can differ considerably from neighborhood pharmacies, large retail chains,
and online sources. Many pharmacies offer some generic prescriptions for as little
as $4 for a 30-day supply. There may be restrictions or limitations, so ask for details.
If your health insurance has a drug
plan, include it in your cost comparison. If you use an online pharmacy, be sure it
licensed in your state. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if financial
assistance is available for your medicine or condition. If so, remember that there
Split the difference
Some pills shouldn’t be split, such
as those with time-release coatings. But depending on what you take, you may be able
cut your costs. Ask your healthcare provider if it’s OK to split a higher-dosage version
of your medicine. If you can do this, be sure to use a pill-splitter device. Don’t
pills with your fingers as they may break unevenly and result in an incorrect dose.
Order in bulk
If you take a medicine daily,
buying a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day refill can reduce fees for filling the
medicine or copays.
Ask for substitutes
If you’re taking a brand-name drug
that does not have a generic available, ask your healthcare provider if you can switch
to a less expensive drug in the same category.
In some cases, you may even be able to take an over-the-counter (OTC) drug instead
of a prescription.
Do the math
Find out from your prescription drug plan what your out-of-pocket expenses will be
when filing your prescriptions.