As you age, prescription medications, unfortunately, tend to become a way of life. Even a relatively healthy person will occasionally need some sort of medication to help them manage conditions. Unfortunately, these prescriptions can sometimes cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. Thus, it becomes important to find ways to save money.
How to Combat Expensive Drug Prices
Pharmaceutical companies have way too much control over pricing in the American marketplace, which often leads to outrageously expensive drugs. And while you can’t tell these companies to lower prices, there are some savvy steps you can take to save money.
Let’s take a look:
- Consult With Your Doctor
A good doctor is on your team. This means they want to work with you to ensure that you get the right medicine at the right price. And while they don’t always know what you’ll end up paying – so much depends on insurance – they can work with you to find a solution that will be as cost-effective as possible for your situation.
Along with this same line of thinking, you should be selective with whom you choose to be your doctor. Some doctors are known for prescribing medication for every bump and bruise, while others only resort to pills when absolutely necessary. Working with a doctor in the latter category will give you a chance to pursue other options before relying on medication (which often does little more than mask symptoms).
- Use the Generic Version
“When a brand name drug goes off patent, another manufacturer can make a generic equivalent of that drug,” FamilyWize explains. “There are also therapeutic equivalent drugs, which are made of different chemicals, but work similarly to each other. When you give your pharmacist a prescription written by your doctor, it is considered both safe and legal for your pharmacist to dispense an equivalent generic drug for the brand name drug on the prescription (unless your doctor specifically says not to!).”
In most cases, the generic version of a drug will work just as well as the brand name. Considering that the cost can be as much as 80 to 85 percent less, there’s plenty of motivation to go with the generic option.
- Shop Around
Even when you select the generic version, costs for certain drugs can still be outrageously expensive. But if you don’t like the price you’re getting at one pharmacy, you can always shop around. You may be surprised to learn that costs for generic drugs can vary dramatically from one pharmacy to the next (even ones right next door).
There are plenty of tools you can use online to compare costs quickly. GoodRx is one of the better options. If you find a lower price elsewhere, feel free to transfer your prescription to that pharmacy.
- Buy From a Canadian Pharmacy
Every now and then, you’ll encounter a situation where there are no affordable options for the drug you need – even after comparison-shopping dozens of pharmacies for the generic version. In a case like this, you may find it helpful to shop a Canadian pharmacy.
It’s common knowledge that prescription drugs are exponentially cheaper in Canada. But what most people don’t realize is that you can actually purchase drugs from Canada and have them shipped to the United States. So long as you follow certain rules – such as only purchasing for personal use and never buying more than a three-month supply – you could make this option work for you.
- Get Healthy
America has become a society of pill poppers. As a result, pharmaceutical companies continue to increase prices to satisfy demand. And even though you’ve been conditioned to think you need lots of medicine to function, the truth is that medicine doesn’t solve everything. Your best bet is to live a healthy lifestyle and make smart choices that negate the need for taking medicine in the first place.
Start Saving Today
The American healthcare system is outrageously expensive – but that’s a discussion for another day. As someone who needs prescription drugs to stay healthy and comfortable, it’s imperative that you find ways to work around these expensive costs. Use the tips outlined in this article and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!