Even with insurance, prescription medication can be costly. Almost all Americans take at least one prescription medication, while over half take one or more. When you add up all the prescriptions you take, it can get a bit pricey. In 2012, individuals who regularly took prescription drugs paid approximately $758 per year, and that number has only risen since then. If you find yourself spending too much, don’t quit your medication to reduce costs – there are plenty of healthy alternatives to that! Ask your doctor about other drug options or use a pharmacy discount card.
Here are some things to avoid when trying to cut prescription costs:
1. Exploring a friend’s medicine cabinet – While you may think your friend has a similar health condition, you should never use their meds! Even if you both have heart disease or chronic depression, you friend’s doctor prescribed the medication with their condition, age, allergies, and health history in mind. Most conditions will have a number of medications that are used to treat them, but many of these will affect people differently. Medicines that work for one person may cause a deadly allergic reaction in another, or may simply be ineffective. Don’t take anything that wasn’t specifically prescribed for you. If you have questions about switching your medication to a different brand, consult your doctor.
2. Insisting on brand-name drugs – If you want to save money on medication, don’t insist on brand-name drugs. In most cases, generic drugs are much cheaper than brand-name drugs and are equally safe and effective. Generic prescriptions are copies of brand name drugs and have the same intended use, dosage, side effects and strength. To reduce your prescription costs, talk to your doctor about generic drugs.
3. Assuming herbal supplements are adequate – While herbal supplements can help give your body the nutrients it needs, they should not be used in place of your medication. For many conditions and illnesses, simply eating healthy and taking vitamins is not enough. Unless your doctor says you can quit taking your medication, do not skip out on doses. For instance, you should never take herbal supplements in place of your depression or anxiety medication. Herbal supplements do not have the same effects as your prescribed medication and can cause you to relapse.
4. Purchasing from shady online pharmacies – Never purchase medications from shady online pharmacies, even if they provide cheaper drugs. While the drugs they offer may look like the ones you are currently taking, they may just be imitations. Only purchase your medications from a trusted pharmacy. If you want to save money, talk to your doctor about getting a 90-day supply rather than a 30-day one to avoid the extra co-pays. Or you could get your prescriptions from a reputable pharmacy via mail-order, which is often cheaper than the drug store. Another great alternative is using a pharmacy discount card. Pharmacy discount cards like Wise RX are accepted by most big name pharmacies.
Remember, if you want to cut down on your prescription costs, there are plenty of safe ways to do so. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or local pharmacist.