August 27, 2019

How to Lower Prescription Drug Costs: 6 Helpful Tips

Filed under: prescription medication — @ 8:15 pm

lower prescription drug costs

Although circumstances are different for everyone, in many situations prescription drug costs are breaking the bank for those in need. It’s unfortunate that so many people are unable to afford the cost of medications that they need to survive or to live a healthy and happy life. It’s an issue that’s affecting millions of people.

What happens when these people are unable to afford their prescriptions? Those millions of people decide to skip their medications in order to preserve their pockets over their health. Don’t fall victim to over-priced medication costs.

You can lower prescription drug costs by following these 6 helpful tips.

1. Use Generic Medication Brands

Always consider the generic medication brand over the name brand. Don’t let the term “generic” scare you away from making a cost-savings decision. Generic medication brands have the same exact active ingredients in them as the name brands do.

The only thing that’s different is the inactive ingredients in the medication. However, generic medication still meets the same standards as the name brand medications do. These medications will treat your condition in the same exact way as the name brand ones would.

Speak with the pharmacist about what generic brand options are available to you.

2. Different Medication Alternatives

Your doctor might prescribe you one type of medication that’s not covered under your insurance or has a significantly high price. Don’t panic. Your doctor isn’t sure of what medications are covered under your insurance or what the different prices are for each type of drug.

If you run into any of these problems, simply ask your pharmacist, your insurance company, or your doctor about different medication alternatives. In many instances, there are several different medications that can be used to treat the same condition. Most of these drugs are just as effective as the other.

Speak with your doctor before making the switch as he or she will know the best alternative option for you specifically. Your insurance company prefers you to use medications with lower prices to keep costs down. Communicating with all three parties is the best way to find your ideal alternative.

3. Use Different Pharmacies

The healthcare system is changing and with it, we’re seeing more and more people opting to deny prescription coverage as part of their plan. With that being said, payments for prescription drugs will need to be made out of pocket. You might be surprised to know that the out-of-pocket cost of prescription drugs changes drastically with different pharmacies.

Because of this, your best option is to do a little bit of shopping around. Check-in with all of your local pharmacies and see what their individual prices are for your specific medications. You might even find that working with an online pharmacy intermediary that allows you to receive your medications directly to your doorstep have cheaper prices than the storefront locations.

Always shop around and see what the different prices are at each pharmacy before making a final decision. This is the best way to ensure you get the best price!

4. Ask For Smaller Quantities

If you recently began taking a new medication, you can consider asking your doctor to write out the prescription for a smaller amount than usual. This is a good way to save money while you determine if the prescription works well for you. When starting a new medication, there’s no way to tell for certain if it’ll work the way you need it to or if you’ll experience side effects until you actually take the medicine for a couple of days.

Rather than spending money on a prescription that your body might not respond well to, start out with a small amount of it and go from there. You can also consider asking your pharmacist to dispense a smaller amount. However, there may be restrictions for this based on the state’s laws, but it’s worth asking.

5. Use Coupons to Rack Up Savings

Another way to save directly from the manufacturer is to be on the lookout for manufacturer coupons. Use these coupons to rack up the savings. This is a great option for those whose only option is the manufacturer’s name-brand medication.

And if you’re insured through an employer or through a private insurer, then you might qualify for reductions on your monthly co-pays if you use the savings programs offered by the manufacturer.

Do keep in mind that generic brand medications don’t offer these savings programs. This is because the manufacturer knows that their name-brand medications are more expensive than other options.

To remain competitive against generic brands, they offer these coupons.

6. Ask For Different Dosing

Another way to save is to ask for different dosing of your medication. Asking for higher dosing means you can split a 10mg pill into a 5mg pill by slicing it in half. Many pills come with an indention down the middle for easy splitting.

You can also invest in a pill splitter to do the work for you. Although do keep in mind that some pills are not intended to be split and in these situations, you won’t have this option. Ask your doctor about doubling the dosing for you to split the pills and save money.

If you need a 5mg pill each day, then it takes fewer 10mg pills split into 5mg pills to fulfill your medication needs than a tub full of 5mg pills. This saves you money.

Lower Prescription Drug Costs Today!

You can lower prescription drug costs today by following these 6 simple tips! Consider using generic brands, find out what your alternatives are, and shop around for different pharmacy prices before making a purchase. These tips and using different programs and dosing to save you money are the best ways to lower those costs.

Are you ready to learn how you can begin ordering your prescriptions online and save money? Click here to learn how!

July 5, 2016

Pharmaceutical Companies Have the Impunity to Hike Up Drug Prices

Valeant Pharmaceuticals have been recently singled out for their despicable practices. Their malevolent business strategies have made the news, but it does not alter the fact that numerous other pharmaceutical companies participate in the same practices.

Continue reading “Pharmaceutical Companies Have the Impunity to Hike Up Drug Prices” »

June 16, 2015

US Confirms CIPA Approved Canadian Pharmacies Safe Option for Prescription Drugs

Happy smiling Customer With A Pharmacist

A survey conducted by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association explores reasons behind Americans continuing to utilize online licensed Canadian pharmacies when ordering prescription medications.  Nearly 2,700 Americans participated in the study with 64 percent say they purchase maintenance medications from pharmacy options outside the United States due to prescription fill costs.

Nearly 22 percent who participated claimed their insurance coverage didn’t cover some medications. On average for regular prescription medication orders Americans are spending roughly $250 per month with Canadian pharmacies.  Research has shown this option has helped thousands of Americans avoid suffering severe health concerns. Those who participated in the study attributed the following 3 reasons why they import prescription medicines from Canada:

  1. Unable to afford prescription fill costs (lack of funds).  About 11 percent say they could not purchase any prescription medicine at all if acquired from a U.S pharmacy.
  2. Prescriptions not covered in their insurance plan. About 32 percent say their healthcare coverage doesn’t cover all of their medications.
  3. Dramatic rise in medication costs. Roughly 57 percent of respondents claim they are responsible for paying their health insurance.  They also pay all of their medication costs.

Maintenance medications offered in Canada are cheaper. Customers have reported saving roughly 50 percent or almost $250 on a 90-day supply from Canadian pharmacies.  Having an affordable alternative such as this has helped reduce risk factors previous studies have researched. This includes issues of patients skipping doses, abruptly stopping medication use and even putting personal health at higher risk.

Seniors on Medicare include growing number of patients who utilize online Canadian pharmacies for maintenance prescription fills.  Most respondents who participated in the study are aged 55 and older.  Strategies such as lower-cost medication options, skipping doses, taking less medication, delaying prescription refills and not taking medicine as prescribed are risks many face due to lack of proper health care coverage.  Many without insurance coverage were more likely to ask about lower-cost alternatives than those with private healthcare coverage or Medicaid.

National Health Interview data published in 2013 showed common ways American’s sought to cut drug costs.  Close to 20% of adults aged 18-64 and roughly 20.3% of seniors 65 and older say they discussed lower-cost medication options.   Almost 13% of adults 18-64 admit they did not take prescription medicine as prescribed. Nearly 6 percent of adults 65 and older admitted to the same action.

CIPA offers American medical patients with pharmaceutical and maintenance medication options (excludes controlled substances) through 90-day supply options with valid prescription information.

June 1, 2015

How Having An Up-To-Date Prescription Medication List Prevents Harm

Filling Out FormsWhen it comes to taking prescription drugs, as scary as it sounds, you’re the only one who knows best what you’re taking and how you’re medications are affecting you.  Having an up-to-date medication list that outlines what and how you’re taking your medication that you share with your healthcare team such as your doctor, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, specialist and caregivers, like family and friends who help out—will significantly reduce harm when it comes to adverse drug interactions inadvertently happening when medications are accidently mixed together. It will take some effort on your part in making a list of prescription and non-prescription medications but it’s actually the most simple and often overlooked strategy for better health and will prevent injury or harm to you or your loved one.

Why does having an accurate patient shared medication list so important?  Based on a medical survey, only about 25% of physicians could easily generate a list of an individual patient’s medications.  A systematic review by Dr. Ed Etchells and his colleagues published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found up to two-thirds of the time, there was an error in medications at the time of admission. They also discovered that 41% of these errors were clinically important, and 22% had a potential to cause harm during the patient’s admission. When you combine the fact that two-thirds of seniors are on five or more prescription drugs, often prescribed by different healthcare providers, the cause for concern rises, because of the high opportunity of errors happening.  However, there is also the great opportunity to prevent errors by creating an up-to-date medication list to ensure proper patient care.

Other issues that arise begin before patients take medication.  In 2014, a study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Robyn Tamblyn and it revealed that 31% of the patients didn’t even fill their prescriptions in the first place.  This happens quite frequently in the province of Quebec where they have a generous program of government coverage for medications, especially for lower income people, and you’d think that people with rather severe illnesses, recent hospitalizations, or emergency visits would be more likely to take their medications to prevent getting even sicker—but that’s not often the case.

People with chronic diseases, especially ones that are considered “silent” and we don’t notice many of the symptoms such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol—about 1 out of every 2 people actually discontinue taking their medications after a year.  At least 50% of people not taking their medications are missing out on the chance of decreasing their susceptibility of having heart attack or stroke by around 25%.  It’s also important to take note that there are some medications, like antidepressants and other examples, where stopping them suddenly is definitely not a good idea. How you are taking your medications can be as important as what you’re taking.

The adherence to taking your prescribed medication is so important because it could be a choice between preventing a heart attack or stroke—and taking the risk of not following what your healthcare provider has prescribed may lead to further complications or even death.  The approach to explaining to patients on medication adherence must be explored.  It’s not enough to say that:  “This medication lowers your blood pressure”.  Taking more time to say “I’m prescribing this medication because I want you to decrease your chances of having a stroke or heart attack and go on to explain that, “when your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder, and it becomes more bulky and stiff.  We don’t want a muscleman for our heart; we want a long distance runner.  So by lowering your blood pressure, we make things easier for your heart, and your brain, and your kidneys too.”

The patient’s role in owning up to medication adherence is the first simple step in gathering an accurate and updated medication list.  Developing the good practice of asking your local pharmacist for advice and working together in reviewing your medication list is a crucial step in reducing patient harm when it comes to taking multiple medications.  Make it easier for yourself by getting all your medication from the same pharmacy.  This helps decrease the potential of overprescribing, adverse drug interactions, and so on.