Top 17 Ways to Cut Your
Prescription Drug Costs
By The Cost Containment Research Institute
1. You May Qualify for a Free Drug program.
· There are over 1,100 drugs that are made by 100 manufacturers
who have free drug programs. Most major drug companies provide free medications,
but rarely, if ever publicize their programs. An estimated two billion dollars
of free medication is given away annually.
· Larry's father has prostate cancer and takes Casodex every
day, which costs $300 a month in the US, and $180 from Mexico. He sent his
father's information to see if he qualified. He recently found out his father
did qualify to receive the drug free. Larry just happened to see a small article
buried inside the newspaper. He never knew these programs existed.
2. Get a Pharmacy Discount Card for Free.
· AdvanceRx offers a free discount card to anyone that saves
13%-25% and covers all drugs dispensed at a pharmacy. For details, call
1-800-ADVANCE (238-2623) or www.advancerx.com.
· There are five free discount cards for Senior citizens. The
discount cards cover over 200 popular medications.
3. Save Up to 93% by Asking for a Generic
· Use generics whenever they are available. Both brand name and
generic drugs contain the same active ingredients, are the same in strength and
dosage, meet the same government quality control standards.
· According to Mark Erblat, Pharmacy Director and owner of Rx
For You, cost savings on brand name vs. generic will vary from drug to drug and
pharmacy to pharmacy but can be significant. For instance:
· Prozac brand 20mg, 100 tablets cost $280.19 and generic sells
for $29.99 (Savings 89%)
· Vasotec brand 5mg, 100 tablets costs $103.59 and generic sells
for $18.19 (Savings 82%)
· Zantac brand 150mg 100 tablets costs $173.39 and generic sells
for $10.99 (Savings 93%)
· Zestril brand 10mg 100 tablets costs $96.29 and generic sells
for $39.99 (Savings 58%)
4. Veterans Now Qualify for More Benefits.
· Recent laws have changed that grant veterans medical benefits
for certain illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, provided the veteran is
subject to qualifying conditions like agent orange exposure.
· See if you qualify for benefits by checking with the Veteran's
5. Cut Your Costs in Half. by Using a Pill Splitter.
· Most pharmacies should stock pill splitters. Sometimes,
medications can be broken in half and save you 50%. The reason is because
several pharmaceutical manufacturers price some of their medications the same
for all strengths.
· Lipitor is essentially the same price for all strengths. It is
possible to save as much as $100 on a one month supply of Lipitor just by
getting the larger strength and cutting in half. Ask your pharmacist.
· This method may not be appropriate for all medications and
could be dangerous if used with the wrong medication.
· Begin by asking your doctor or pharmacist if your medication
is available in a dose double your normal dosage (ex, if you usually take a 20
mg. pill, is a 40 mg. pill available?). If it is, ask whether there would be any
problems with splitting the tablets or capsules.
· Now, do a cost comparison between the two dosages. If the
higher dose is less than double the cost for your regular dose then you will be
saving money by having your doctor prescribe the higher dose and then splitting
it. For precision pill splitters Visit: www.precisionpillsplitters.com Cost
savings is typically 32% to 50%.
. Viagra is another medication that lends itself to being split
in half or quarters to save 50% to 75% depending upon the dosage required. The
average Viagra user who uses two doses per week can save over $400.00 per year.
For information about a specially designed precision splitter for Viagra, visit
· This method is not appropriate for all medications. Check with
your pharmacist. Some easily split medications include: Ambien, Aricept, Buspar,
Effexor, Lipitor, Luvox, Paxil, Remeron, Risperidal, Seroquel, Serzone, Viagra,
Zoloft, Zyprexa. (Ask your pharmacist about others)
6. Save by Buying a 90 vs. 30-Day Supply.
· Most pharmacies have higher savings on a longer days supply.
In addition, when it comes to people who have insurance prescription coverage,
there may be other savings by getting a larger day supply.
· For instance, if you have a $10 co-pay, the insurance company
will let you get only a 30 days supply in general for that $10. A 90-day supply
bought with out insurance may only cost you $18.
· This would be much cheaper than paying $10 per month ($30 for
90 days). It would also save you two trips to the pharmacy.
7. Ask for an Older Medication That is as Effective.
· Many pharmacists agree, that antibiotics are probably the most
over prescribed, or incorrectly prescribed medications. Often, the physician
will prescribe a newer antibiotic that has been promoted as more effective. What
this really means is that it is considerably more expensive.
· The newer antibiotics are often no more effective than the
older antibiotics. However, they are new and covered by patent protection.
Therefore, the newer medication is more effective in ensuring a nice profit for
the drug manufacturer for many years.
· Since many generics are made in the same factory as the brand
name ones, make sure you ask your doctor for a generic antibiotic. A great
generic broad- spectrum antibiotic costs 80% less than a new antibiotic. In
dollars, it costs you $20 instead of $100.
8. Over-the-Counter Drugs May be as Effective as the
· Many doctors still prescribe Pepcid 20mg to their patients. A
one-month supply of Pepcid 20mg cost approximately $60. Pepcid AC,
over-the-counter in 10mg strength, taking double the dose costs approximately
· Most prescription cold medications average $20 to $60 for a
one month supply and contain the same decongestant that is available
over-the-counter for less than $2.
9. Get Only a 7-day Supply of New Medication.
· If the doctor does not have samples, ask your pharmacist to
give you only a one-week supply to try. It is a federal law that medicines can't
be returned once they are dispensed. If you get a month's supply and can't
tolerate the medicine, you have just lost that money.
10. Stop Using Drugs You No Longer Need.
· Review all your prescriptions with your doctor at each visit.
You may be paying for some drugs you no longer need.
· Doctor run www.rxaminer.com provides a custom analysis of your
medications to save you money. You can get a free, no obligation, Cost Screening
to find out how much you can save.
· Also ask your pharmacist to review your medications in
addition to your doctor. Here is why. A pharmacist's valuable services and
knowledge are free. He may also find something your doctor missed.
· A lady developed a persistent cough after she had been taking
a blood pressure medication for approximately 3 months. Her doctor treated her
cough with antibiotics and cough syrup for 6 months. She asked her pharmacist
about her cough lasting so long. The pharmacist found that a possible side
effect of her new blood pressure medication was a persistent cough. Her doctor
argued but changed her medicine and her cough stopped. The lady had spent over
$750 in doctor's fees and medication just to treat the cough.
· A mother was giving her daughter antibiotics to treat a kidney
infection. Her daughter consistently had a fever. This continued for several
months. The baby's pediatrician prescribed several antibiotics unsuccessfully.
After searching the literature, the pharmacist discovered that the antibiotic
had a side effect of persistent low-grade fever. In the end, the mother had
spent over $500 on doctor visits and prescription cost.
· Don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist questions, their advice
is free and can often save you money and aggravation. Ask questions about side
effects, and drug interactions.
11. Order Your Prescription Drugs by Phone.
· You can save 20%-50% by ordering prescription drugs over the
phone. Bonus, you do not have to pick them up at the pharmacy.
· Make a list of your medications, including strength and number
taken daily. Then list at least six pharmacies you are going to call. Don't
forget about discount mail order sources too, several are listed at the end of
this booklet. Then call and get prices, ask if this is their best price
available. Compare the costs.
12. Pay Attention to the Quantity.
· Find out how much medication you really may need, and make
sure your doctor doesn't order you more medicine than is necessary to treat your
13. Ask Your Doctor for Samples at Every visit. They Usually
14. Take Only Those Drugs You Really Need.
· When your doctor prescribes medication for you, understand
exactly what it's meant to do and for how long. If you areprescribed two drugs
for the same symptom, ask if you really need both.
15. Buy Home Test Kits.
· Kits for determining ovulation, pregnancy and colorectal
cancer, can be purchased as home tests instead of paying twice as much for
similar kits at your doctor's office.
16. Cross the Border.
· If you live close to either Canada or Mexico, you can buy some
medications in either country for 75% off the U.S. price.
17. AARP Members are Eligible for Many Discounts, Including
Mail- Order Pharmacy Discounts.
· Ask for an AARP discount.
If you have questions about these tips or your medication ask
your doctor and pharmacist.
Senior Discount Card Programs *
(G) GlaxoSmithKline's The Orange Card (888) 672-6436
· Covers all GSK's drugs. Must have an annual income below
$30,000 per individual or $40,000 per couple
· 30% average at participating pharmacies
(L) Eli Lilly's LillyAnswers Card (877) 795-4559
· Covers all Lilly's drugs except controlled substances. Must
have an annual income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple.
· $12 Co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.
(N) Novartis' CareCard call (866) 974-2273
· Covers select Novartis drugs. · Tier 1 must have an annual
income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple. $12 Co-pay per
prescription for 30-day supply.
· Tier 2 must have an annual income below $26,000 per individual
or $35,000 per couple. Receive a 25% or more discount.
(P) Pfizer's The Share Card call (800) 717-6005
· Covers all Pfizer's drugs. Must have an annual income below
$18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple.
· $15 Co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.
(T) Together Rx Card (800) 865-7211
· Over 150 select drugs from a group of manufacturers. Must have
an annual income below $28,000 per individual or $38,000 per couple. (Higher in
AK and HI).
· Savings of approximately 20-40% off the amount you usually pay
for prescriptions and, in many cases, substantially more.