Americans are searching for less expensive medication, but also want assurance that the drugs upon which they rely are safe, untainted and regulated to ensure quality.
Recent reports show that Americans looking for better prices on prescription drugs don’t have to look far. Smart shoppers with the right information can buy what they need at a more affordable price AND avoid the serious safety risks that accompany purchasing imported medicine.
General Prescription Drug Savings Ideas
Ask About Generics
Generic drugs offer significant savings over brand name drugs. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any risks to you switching from your current prescription to a generic and if a generic medicine will work for you.
When your doctor prescribes a medication, ask if the office has any samples provided by pharmaceutical companies .
If you’re 65 years or older, many pharmacies offer a 10 percent discount off the top. Be sure to ask about it.
Ask About Options with Days and Doses
You might be able to save money by purchasing a 90-day supply of your medicine instead of a 30-day supply. Also, your doctor and pharmacist might be able to prescribe higher-dosage pills that can be split. NOTE: Never split pills without talking to your pharmacist!
Compare Prices at Safe Pharmacies
Many consumers are largely unaware that prices for medications differ from pharmacy to pharmacy, city to city, state to state. For patients taking multiple prescription drugs, take your entire list of medications to local pharmacies or call them to find the best total price at one pharmacy. It may take some time, but it is worth the wait. Using one pharmacy, and developing a relationship with your pharmacist, is the safest way to check for drug interactions, duplications and possible side effects—and get the best value for your money.
There are several Web sites available that made it possible to compare prices and buy products without ever leaving home. However, the Internet has also made it easy for unscrupulous people to sell counterfeit and unapproved drugs to unsuspecting customers. Buying online demands that consumers exercise a tremendous amount of caution.
The Key to Safe Online Shopping
If you are going to search for pharmacies on the web, always start by going to the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) Web page at www.vipps.info. The VIPPS seal is awarded to Web sites that have complied with criteria on patient privacy, authentication and security of orders, quality assurance, and provision of meaningful consultation between patients and pharmacists.
DRX DrugCompare (formerly DestinationRx)
DRX Drug Compare is drug price comparison Web site where you can search for the lowest price for your prescription medicine by zip code—just make sure to choose a VIPPS-certified pharmacy! Its therapeutic alternative tool can help you identify other medications available to treat your condition about which you can ask your healthcare provider. Visit https://drugcompare.destinationrx.com/DrugCompare.aspx for more information.
Prescription Assistance Programs
Patients don't have to turn to questionable online sellers to get the medications they need. There are hundreds of assistance programs to help patients obtain medications. These programs provide a safe alternative for patients who cannot afford to fill their prescriptions.
Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card
Today, seniors and people with disabilities can save an estimated 10-25 percent off the cost of their drugs with a Medicare-approved drug discount card. Some low-income seniors might also qualify for an additional $600 benefit for purchasing prescription drugs. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for more information.
National Conference of State Legislatures
More than 30 states have programs that will give you discounts on prescription drugs, often for free. Visit www.ncsl.org/programs/health/pharm.htm to learn more about the various programs state legislatures have developed.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps match patients who cannot afford medication to prescription assistance programs that provide free or nearly free medicines to eligible patients. There are no charges associated with using PPA and almost all of the programs in our database offer their services free of charge. PPA offers a single point of access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. Visit www.pparx.org or call 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) for information.
Rx Outreach is a prescription assistance program for more than 55 pharmaceutical companies managed by Express Scripts Specialty Distribution Services, Inc. (ESSDS), a fully-licensed mail order pharmacy. The program offers prescription generic medicines to uninsured individuals and families, as well as those who have limited prescription drug coverage. Visit www.rxoutreach.com or call 1-800-769-3880 to see if you qualify.
Visit www.TogetherRxAccess.com or call 1-800-444-4106 to learn more about this free prescription savings program for qualified enrollees, which provides savings on more than 300 FDA-approved prescription drugs. Cardholders can generally save about 25-40 percent on medicines for common conditions including diabetes, hypertension, GERD, high cholesterol, cancer, allergies, asthma, arthritis and depression.