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Guide to Cheaper Prescriptions

Authors: Rebeka Acosta, BCPA Editor: Rachel Westlake, BCPA

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Each time a new drug is approved, it costs manufacturers an average of $180,000 over a year to bring it to market. It is no surprise that these astronomical costs are passed on to consumers – we the patients. Americans spend an average of $1,300 per person per year on prescription drugs. [source: Bloomberg News]

But what can we do about it?

General Tips

Don’t skip your prescription medication. Don’t reduce your dosage. Don’t share your prescription medication with anyone. Don’t skip filling a prescription.

Get to know your pharmacist and pharmacy technicians! They hold a wealth of knowledge on your medications and the medication cost/payment system.

You should always shop for your medications. Considering the yearly cost, prescription drugs should be considered a large purchase, for which research is needed to find the best deal.

Finding the Best Price for Your Medication

When approved by your physician, ask for the generic form of a drug, or if there is another medication for your condition that may cost less. Compare prices between your preferred pharmacies and consider mail-order prescriptions.

Prescription Savings Clubs

Many retail pharmacies, insurance providers, and even some employers, have Prescription Savings Clubs. These clubs are membership based and generally carry an annual fee. Members have access to certain drug categories at a flat rate (or free), with savings on many others.

Payment Assistance Funds

What happens if your medication does not qualify for discount programs, coupons, or other savings options? Or requires a specialty or compounding pharmacy? There are several organizations which provide prescription payment assistance, both before and after the prescription has been filled.