Don’t turn to shady online vendors of medicine when you need cheaper prescription medication. You don’t know what you’ll get from a fake online pharmacy: it could be anything from deadly poison to absolutely nothing.
Diabetics depend upon lifesaving medications like these
by DeathByBokeh via Flickr.
Consumer Investigative Reporter Robin Taylor from Channel WPXI asked viewers if they were concerned about affording their medicine, and found that many were skipping pills or going without medications because they couldn’t afford them.
One concerned consumer, Gary Roberts, is a diabetic who receives treatment at a free diabetes clinic in a Jeannette, PA pharmacy. The pharmacist’s oversight has been integral to Robert’s successful treatment, but his health insurance will soon expire, and he won’t be able to afford medication which currently runs him $200 a month in co-payments.
Dr. Scott Drab, a pharmacy professor at the University of Pittsburgh said that Robert’s situation is common among elderly patients.
“Many of our patients are deciding do they take the medication or do they put food on the table?”
Patients sometimes skip doses or split pills to make prescriptions last longer, said Dr. Drab, which is unhealthy.
However, for patients who cannot afford their medications, like diabetic Gary Roberts, there are medicine assistance programs available. Programs like NeedyMeds and Medicine Assistance Tool help get vital medications to the needy.
In addition to programs for low-income patients who are uninsured, there are also legitimate savings cards available for everyone. Carefully vet those programs online however, because there are scam programs that take your information from you and charge you fees without providing any discounts. When in doubt, talk to your pharmacist about the program to make sure it will provide you with a discount before you enroll.
In addition to using savings cards, patients can save money by switching to generic drugs, or by using your prescription plan’s mail-order pharmacy. But watch out for so-called online pharmacies selling medicine from overseas and Canada.
Dr. Drab makes it clear that most online pharmacies do not offer legitimate medications. Unless they are VIPPS certified, they are not safe to do business with and you may get expired or counterfeit medications.
Pharmacies often also have discount programs for senior citizens, and bulk discount purchase plans. Download our Safe Savings handout to pass out to those you know who might need to find cheaper sources of safe medication.
By S. Imber