Prescription drugs can and often are the largest medical expense in many households. I don’t think anyone objects to drug companies continuing to research and develop drugs that can improve our quality of life or even extend our lives. However, no one wants to pay more than they have to for their prescription medications.
Most people can save 50% or more on their prescriptions if they take a few extra steps and research their options. Being a smart shopper and plus a little insider-information can help you get the most for you medical dollar. Whether you have medical drug coverage or pay for your prescriptions out of pocket, you can learn a few techniques in order to save a buck or three on your next refill.
The first tip is to price shop. Prescription drug prices often vary as much as 25% from one pharmacy to another just down the street. Don’t assume that the big name superstores or drug chains hold a lock on low prices. Many smaller stores seek out drug wholesalers and pass these savings onto you, the customer, in order to get you into their stores where you will likely pick up additional items you need.
Do a little homework and find out if the drug store offers a discount ‘valued customer’ program. These VIP subscriptions sometimes are free and some charge a nominal fee and then provide substantial discounts, refunds, coupons or other incentives to shop in their store. On the surface, you drug price may be higher than another store that does not offer a loyalty program but when you consider the overall benefits and savings, you can come out well ahead on one of these style offers.
There is the potential that you can save a bundle by shopping for your prescription drugs online. Online drug retailers and wholesalers have a much lower operation expense and can offer 20% to 60% savings, sometimes even more. This requires some time to research and will likely be of more benefit to those who have ongoing prescription needs or have a chronic condition that will require long-term drug treatment. Just be sure that you buy from domestic providers that display the Verified Internet Pharmacy Provider Site (VIPPS) seal.
Buy Older Drugs
This does not mean expiring drugs, just older in terms of having been around for a while. Avoid new trendy drugs as these are usually the most expensive options. Unless there is a compelling reason to move to a new drug that does something that no other drug can do, opt for the less-expensive option. Sometimes new drugs are just a combination of two or more older drugs. Buying them separately can be significantly less expensive that the new combination.
Buy In Quantity
Usually, buying a 90-day or 180-day supply will be a lot cheaper per day than buying in smaller quantity. Ask your doctor if you can get a larger refill prescription if you are taking an ongoing medication regiment.
This may be obvious but drugs whose patent has expired can be manufactured by others and this will lower the price of the drug significantly. Always ask your doctor or your pharmacist if a generic-equivalent is available. This can really drop your prescription drug bills.