Saving On Prescription Drug Medication

The cost of prescription medications is alarmingly high, as is the number of Americans who aren’t treating their condition because they can’t afford the medicine.

Whether you’re under-insured or uninsured, there are ways you can save money on prescription medication.  You can even get the medicine for free, if you meet certain guidelines.

Here are five ways you can save on prescription medication:

Ask for samples

This is especially true if you have a short term illness or infection. Pharmaceutical companies give doctors lots of medicine to gain their recommendations, so chances are your doctor can hook you up with enough samples to get you through your illness.

Go generic

According to the FDA, generic prescription drugs save Americans $8-$10 billion dollars per year.  Walmart and Target each have extensive lists of generic medications for $4, and will give you this price even if your insurance charges you more.  Ask your doctor if there’s a generic alternative whenever possible.

Use a prescription drug savings card

These are generally for people with no prescription insurance who meet a certain income limit and are not eligible for Medicare. These cards will also help you pay for any medication that your insurance will not cover. Your pharmacist should keep the card on file and scan it when your insurance is denied to get the discount.  Major pharmaceutical companies are behind these programs.  Great examples include Together Rx Access, AZ & Me from Astra Zeneca, and Your Rx Card.

Get it free

If you qualify, pharmaceutical companies have programs available to provide your medicine to you for free.  You will need your doctor’s help for the paperwork, but patient assistance programs are set in place so that you do not have to live without your prescriptions. One great place to find a program that fits your needs is Partnership for Prescription Assistance. Another is Rx Assist. I highly recommend both of these sites because they not only supply you with programs for prescription medications, they supply you with a list of co-payment programs and free clinics as well as a few more savings cards.  There is a wealth of information available that you cannot afford to miss.

Go to the grocery store

Some grocery store pharmacies, such as Publix, occasionally offer a two week supply of medication for free.  See your local stored for details.

I hope you have learned that your prescription medications do not have to go unfilled. I used to think that, and would make one month of medication stretch at least two months before I would fill my prescription because it cost so much.  Learn from my mistakes!

This is a guest article from Kristin of Making Cents Out of Life. If you enjoyed this article consider subscribing to Making Cents Out of Life’s RSS feed for more great content!

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Published or updated May 18, 2013.

Comments

  1. I go generic when possible, but I hadn’t thought of asking for samples. That’s a great idea! And I bet that many doctors are more than happy to hand them out.

    • I can attest to the fact that asking for samples works. I’ve had samples of allergy and asthma medications given to me by doctors. They know how expensive some drugs can be and some docs will help you out by giving you samples.

  2. A lot of doctors have relationships with certain drug companies, but if you ask they may have the same medicine in a generic form that will cost a lot less.

  3. Another good way to save money is to ask your doctor to make your prescription for double the strength. When you fill your prescription, ask the pharmacist to split the pills. That way you get a double batch for the cost of one bottle. This has personally saved me hundreds.

    • You have to be careful with that though and you should discuss it with your doctor. Even though a pill is in two even halves it doesn’t mean there are equal doses in each half. Some pills lend themselves to splitting though.

  4. I suffer from asthma and allergies as well. I asked my doctor to prescribe a 90 day supply of medication instead of 30 days. A 90 day prescription only costs $40, while a 30 day prescription costs me $20. So, I basically get one month free. Plus, I don’t have to visit the pharmacy as frequently.

    Also, I recently transferred my prescriptions from CVS to Rite-Aid and got a $25 gift card for doing so. Check out drug store websites for these kinds of coupons before transferring the prescription.

    Don’t forget to check the samples provided by your doctor for coupons. I’ve saved any where from 50% to 100% of my copay simply by using the drug manufacturer’s coupon attached to the package.

    • Good points! In fact some health plans offer significant discounts when you get your prescription for 90 days.

  5. Thanks for the info.

  6. A new website just launched that integrates with Twitter to send you prescription cost information and definitions via Twitter direct messages automatically. The service is called ASKch and is from a company called change:healthcare. You can also ask if there is a generic discount for a prescription, a generic alternative for a medication and many other things.

  7. Melody@Single Use Systems says:

    (Un)fortunately, I experienced # 1 firsthand recently. We had a lapse in our personal health coverage and our healthcare provider was nice enough to provide samples when we really needed it. We’ve also taken advantage of several other suggestions (all of which have worked for us) but simply asking is something that most would neglect to do.

  8. Another way of saving money is to have your MD give you a 3 month prescription which costs less than a monthly refill. Not all insurance will accept this though.

  9. Another good site that offers prescription savings program is OptimizeRx
    Just by entering the medication or condition to the search term, patients can view available prescription savings offers and information.


    Danne :)

  10. I am a full time student and have no prescription drug coverage. I use a free discount drug card that I get from usamedsaver.com- the card saves me about $100 a month.

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