Thursday, September 25, 2003
More Bang for Your Buck: Saving On Prescriptions
For many people, paying for prescriptions at the pharmacy -- can be a bitter pill to swallow. But if you're looking to cut costs, there are options to help you get more bang for your buck.
Each day, she must take eight different kinds of medicine to fight off a bladder disease.
"Most of the time I have to take prescription pain medication," she says.
And without coverage her medicine can be costly.
"I was supposed to take it three times a day," says Donna, "and I couldn't afford it and I would buy a 10 day supply and take it once a day just to have it in my system."
Donna is not alone.
Millions of Americans can't afford their medicine.
The price just too expensive.
Last year, the average brand-name drug cost 72 dollars.
PharmacistCarlos Ruiz says, "The very first thing we recommend is that the patient find out is whether their product is available in a generic equivalent product."
Carlos Ruiz from Navarro discount drugs says there are deals to be had.
If you go the generic route, you sometimes save as much as 45 dollars.
"If medication is available in generic alternative," says Ruiz, "we, by law, have to offer that to the consumer."
Or you can go with a non-prescription plan.
Various kinds of medicine have over-the-counter counterparts.
Ruiz says, "There sometimes will be over the counter medications which may produce similar effects which are a lot less money."
Comparison shopping will also cut costs.
Check-out online sites, discount pharmacies and wholesale clubs like Costco for the lowest price.
"Most pharmacies will have a senior citizen discount plan," says Ruiz.
But the real relief may come directly from the drug makers.
Ruiz says, "As long as they get an authorization from their physician that they are of low income, manufacturers may even provide their medication free of charge."
And if you don't qualify, there are other programs to get your drugs for next to nothing.
"We act as a clearinghouse," says David Hogg, president of something called The Medicine Program.
If you're eligible, subscribers pay just five dollars per prescription.
"They are brand new drugs," says Hogg. "The most available drugs are the brand new drugs."
However, you can't be covered by insurance, you can't qualify for Medicaid, and you shouldn't be able to afford retail prices.
"I don't have to skimp by and just take one pill a day when I'm supposed to take three," says Donna. "I can get the right amount."
The program has done wonders for Donna.
What she saves makes the medicine go down a lot easier.
"I'm glad there is a program that helps," says Donna.
It's also helpful to talk with your doctor and pharmacist -- for additional ways to save.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mr. Carlos Ruiz
Navarro Discount Pharmacies
5959 NW 37 th Ave.
Miami, FL 33142
The Medicine Program