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Five Quick Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs

Prescription prices are skyrocketing out of control. The average person is now spending over $250 a month at the pharmacy counter. With the new Medicare Part D plan, the government is stepping in to try and alleviate some of these expenses. The plan is riddled with problems, delays, and confusion. Taking control of your own healthcare is truly the only way to lower your costs. What follows is a quick list of five ways to lower your costs.

Shopping around to various pharmacies can save you a few dollars here and there. Consider your time, gas, and effort when making the decision to drive out of the way to save a couple of dollars. Is it really worth five dollars to drive an extra 15 miles round trip every month? Some pharmacies will match a competitorís price. Ask up front is they will match, then find the lowest price. Call them back, give them the lowest price and where you found it.

They should then reduce their price for you. Getting a generic is always the smart thing to do. Some people are apprehensive about generic medication but it must contain the same active ingredients as the more expensive brand. The difference is with the fillers or dyes used in the manufacturing. There are rare allergies to some of these fillers and dyes, but they occur is so infrequently, there is no need to worry. Brand name drugs are so expensive because the manufacturers must recoup the money spent on research and development before the patent runs out. When the patent does expire, any manufacturer who can prove to the FDA that they can make a similar product, can produce it and charge what they feel is necessary. This brings out competition and lower prices. Splitting tablets is common in the nursing home and hospital setting. These institutions know how to lower costs.

You can do the same by asking your doctor to double your dose and cut it in half. Most medications do not double price when they double strength. In most cases, this will save you about 40%. Be sure your medication can be cut. Often times, drugs are released slowly in the body through a mechanism in the tablet. This mechanism cannot be cut or the medication will be released at one time. If you have insurance with a set co-pay, this technique will not work. You will pay the same co-pay regardless of the quantity of pills you buy. A few popular prescription medications are available over-the-counter (OTC) in lower doses. For example, Prilosec recently became available OTC.

The cost for the OTC version is much less than the prescription and you do not need to see your doctor, an added expense in time and money. Motrin, Zantac, and Pepcid are other examples of medication available in both prescription and OTC strengths. Going online to find a pharmacy can be worthwhile. These companies will mail you your prescription at a lower price than you can usually get them at the retail level. They can do this because they are set up in a very efficient warehouse setting with little overhead. When shopping online, you must be cautions. The FDA has now determined that almost half of the seized drugs that were supposed to be from Canadian pharmacies, were from some other country. When looking for an online pharmacy, by sure they display the VIPPS symbol. This signifies that they are following all the rules and regulations set forth by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. This is the same governing body that regulates traditional pharmacies.

Medication is essential for the health and wellbeing of many people. Anything this important is not going to be cheap. By using one or all of these quick tips, you will see your costs reduced at the pharmacy.


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