Here are 5 ways you can get lower prescription drug prices
1. Ask about generic options.
Almost 80% of prescription medications have a generic alternative which costs 4 times less on average than brand name drugs. Just be aware that where you fill your generic prescriptions matters big-time! You can also try asking your doctor or pharmacist if your medication is safe for splitting higher-dose pills. The cost of some medications is close in price to pills with half the milligrams of the same drug.
2. Prescription drug prices at pharmacies can sometimes be negotiated with the pharmacist.
If another pharmacy has a better price on a medication you are taking, let your pharmacist know and they may be able to give you a discount. In addition, many pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs which provide drugs at deep discounts or in some cases, for free. Check a company’s website to see if they offer assistance programs. Lastly, talk with your doctor to see if there are less expensive options for medications you are taking. They may not know how much you pay for the medications they prescribe.
3. Check your Medicare Part D eligibility.
If you have Medicare coverage, you may be eligible for Medicare Part D, the new outpatient drug coverage plan which took effect in 2006. Beneficiaries can choose from at least 2 prescription drug coverage plans which will pay for necessary treatments — brand-name and generic drugs — and be able to get their prescriptions at a pharmacy or through mail-order.
4. Check mail-order pharmacy options through your PBM.
You may be able to buy your prescriptions through the mail if you have a health care plan with drug coverage. Prescription medications can be ordered directly from the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) that manages your health plan’s drug benefit.
5. See if there’s an OTC option.
When a new prescription medication has been in use for a period after it has been licensed (usually 5 years), and has been proven to the safe, it may be designated as an over-the-counter drug (OTC). Conditions such as heartburn, allergies, and constipation now have OTC alternatives so you may be able to switch away from a prescription medication to save money. OTC drugs are easier to get and more convenient than prescription medications.
There are several medications that are now available without a prescription for heartburn, allergies, the common cold and pain relief. Short-term insomnia is another condition that can be treated with some OTC medications that cause sedation and sleepiness as a side effect for temporary relief. OTC medications are available for pain relief from joint pain, lower back pain, and migraine headaches.
Be sure to check with your prescribing doctor before trying over-the-counter alternatives.