Despite the greater availabilty of inexpensive generic alternatives, prescription drugs are still an expensive proposition for many people. To help those of us for whom medication is a mainstay of the monthly budget, WebMD offers these “Dos” and “Don’ts” for cutting drug costs, which we summarize below:
- Do Ask About Generic Options. Almost 80% of FDA-approved drugs have generic alternatives that cost an average of four times less than the brand-name versions.
- Do Look Into Splitting Higher-Dose Pills. Many pills cost about the same even if they contain twice as much medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medication is safe for splitting.
- Do Talk Openly With Your Doctor. He or she may be able to find less expensive options.
- Do Shop Around. Pharmacy prices can vary, and you may be able to negotiate.
- Do Look Into Patient Assistance Programs. Many pharmaceutical companies have programs that provide their drugs at deep discounts or even free for people in need.
- Don’t Use a Friend’s Medicine Cabinet. A drug may be expired, may be the wrong dose, and may react with something else you’re taking.
- Don’t Insist on Brand Name Drugs. There’s probably a less expensive alternative to the drug advertised on TV.
- Don’t Assume Herbal Supplements Are Safe or Adequate. They’re not regulated like medications, and some could pose a real danger.
- Don’t Keep Switching Pharmacies. It undermines the checks and balances meant to protect your safety.
- Don’t Buy Drugs from “Rogue” Internet Pharmacies. Groups posing as legitimate pharmacies get away with selling fake drugs, expired drugs, or the wrong drug in the name of a buck.
Another useful “Do": Do check out RxEOB. This online service, available to many MedBen pharmacy plan members, allows patients learn about possible lower cost generic and therapeutic alternatives. Simply log in to the MedBen Access site and click on “My Rx”.