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6 Tips to Help You Save Money at the Pharmacy

by For Content

Data from Georgetown University indicates that approximately 66 percent of US adults use prescription medications. Unfortunately, it's a struggle for some individuals to pay for their medications when it's time to pick them up from the pharmacy. If it's cumbersome to pay for your prescriptions, here are a few tips to help you lower your expenses. 

1. Ask If There's a Generic Alternative

Generics are a tried and true way to lower your prescription drug spending. While some of the inactive ingredients in a generic alternative may vary, the active ingredients are usually the same. Ask your pharmacist if there's a generic version of your drug, and if so, its price difference from your normal medications.

While generics are typically cheaper, there may be a coupon or program lowering the cost of your name-brand drug. Make sure to take any discounts you receive into account when comparing prices.

2. Sign Up for a 90-Day Supply of Your Drugs

If you take some of the same prescription drugs each day, lower your pharmacy costs by asking for a 90-day supply of your medication. While not every medication is available in a 90-day supply, those that are are usually cheaper than their monthly refill costs. 

3. Discuss Your Concerns with Your Doctor

Should you discover that the price of a prescription drug is too costly for your budget, call your doctor and let them know what's going on. Don't wait until your next appointment; it's essential to take your drugs as prescribed for an optimal level of health.

Your doctor may be able to prescribe another cheaper medication that functions similarly to your current medication. Or, if your medication consists of multiple ingredients, it's often cheaper to prescribe the individual components that comprise the pill. You may have to take more pills, but the result will be the same and your costs will be lower. 

Many doctor offices have samples of medications. While this is only a short-term fix, this will ensure you have access to your medication while you explore cost-saving alternatives. 

4. Invest in a Quality Pill Cutter

You might have pills that you need to cut so you take the appropriate dosage; if so, make sure that splitting them doesn't cause you to lose a dose. The next time you pick up your prescriptions, peruse the drugstore and purchase a pill cutter. Look for a quality version that will cleanly cut the pills. A clean cut minimizes the amount of medication that you lose to degradation after splitting the pill. 

5. Shop Around 

There's no guarantee that the prescription prices at different pharmacies are the same. Make sure to shop around at a few drugstores to ensure you're paying the best price for your medication. You can call a potential pharmacy and request an appointment to obtain an estimate for your medications. Depending on the price differences, it may make financial sense to use multiple pharmacies to lower your drug costs. 

6. Look for Coupon or Assistance Programs

Many drug manufacturers have coupon programs that are intended to keep the prices of their expensive medications affordable and competitive with other options. Sometimes, your pharmacist is aware of coupon programs for your medication. However, it's a good idea to conduct your own research to ensure you aren't leaving any savings behind.

Start with the drug manufacturer's website; they often advertise any available coupon programs. If you don't qualify for the program, see if the manufacturer has an assistance plan available.

Assistance plans for prescription medications typically take your household income into account when determining your eligibility. They're also usually compatible with insurance or plans that provide prescription drug coverage.