Spending for prescription drugs just seem to keep on getting higher every time you go to a pharmacy. Making some changes in your lifestyle might help reduce your need for medicines. Chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, and low back pain can be managed better if a patient engages in regular exercise, loses excess weight, and consumes a balanced, healthy diet. Most likely, the patient who practices these self-care methods would also have lesser medicine requirements.
It is common knowledge that being under constant medication is expensive, and in itself, is a source of anxiety for patient. Going without medicine, however, is not an option. But what often escapes the notice of many patients is the availability of safe, affordable, and effective prescription medicines. Generic drugs are cheap medicines that were made specifically as the less expensive duplicates of brand-name medicines. The first step is to consult a doctor or pharmacist about the generic equivalent of the brand-name medicine that was prescribed for a particular condition. Generic medicines are made according to the same strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards as brand-name drugs and therefore have the same quality, strength, purity, and stability as their more expensive counterparts. However, not all brand-name medicines have generic equivalents.
When scouting for cheap medicines, it is important for the pharmacist to know the patient’s medical history, including all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and herbal alternatives that were taken or are being used by the said patient. Knowledge about a patient’s medical history will help prevent negative drug interactions, side effects, and other medical problems.
Scouting for less expensive medication is best done by going to online drugstores. These virtual pharmacies in the Internet offer very affordable products and price discount promos. Going online to scout and buy medicines will also save you trips to the pharmacy which usually involves patiently navigating through heavy traffic and standing in line.
Another strategy that can help you save money without losing drug effectiveness or safety is by pill splitting. Some tablets are available at double the dose with the same or almost the same cost as lower doses. By splitting the larger dose, you can essentially get two doses for the price of one. However, some medicines should not be split, including timed-release pills and capsules.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your prescription medicines are sold at higher dosages and if it’s possible to split them. Talk to your pharmacist about how to split pills with an inexpensive, easy-to-use pill splitter.
Those who are using a certain medicine for the first time should not get more than a one-month supply. If possible, get only one-week worth of medicine so that when the medicine doesn’t work and needs to be changed right away, you are able to save paying for more than you actually used.
But if you are already taking a medication on a regular basis, buying medicines by bulk can also save money. Many pharmacies and online sites offer price discounts for bulk purchases. Ask your doctor if it’s possible to have a prescription for several months’ supply of medicines that you can take consistently. Always remember that your insurance company may limit the amount of medicine you can get at one time. Sometimes the cash price for a 3-month supply of medicine is less costly than if you were to pay the insurance co-pay each month for three months. Mail-order services can often save you money on large orders. But make sure to use only trusted, reliable pharmacy Web sites.
For cheap medicines, try over-the-counter alternatives for your prescription medicine. However, they usually come in lower strengths. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for instructions on how to take them.
According to recent studies, antibiotics are not always needed. These often-expensive medications should only be taken when it is prescribed by a doctor. For example, up to 80% of ear infections get better even without the use of antibiotics. Likewise, up to two-thirds of people with acute sinusitis improve on their own without antibiotic treatment.
Some private and State-funded programs should also be looked into as a source of cheaper or even free medicines and health care services. Patient assistance programs from some pharmaceutical companies offer free or discounted drugs for people who cannot afford them. Some non-profit organizations provide doctors and other health care providers with the information they need to access these programs, which include state programs for seniors, disabled, and low-income people.
While the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) offers medicine assistance program to people with rare diseases whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to pay for their prescribed medicines, the Veterans Administration offers prescription drug coverage for retired veterans, their families and survivors.