Shopping for Drugs: 2007

Policy Reports | Health

No. 293
Thursday, November 16, 2006
by Devon Herrick, Ph.D.


Drug therapy is the most effective treatment for many illnesses, but drugs can be expensive.  The cost can be especially high for seniors with chronic conditions, and those without health insurance or drug coverage.  Yet most patients can easily lower their annual medicine bills through smart shopping.  Patients who have prescription drug coverage have little incentive to be wise consumers.  Still, they should note that while drug coverage by an insurer makes the high cost of pharmaceuticals easier to bear at the time of purchase, yearly premium increases are partly due to the lack of cost control.

Consumers can use a number of strategies to lower their drug costs.  Which ones are appropriate will depend on their medical conditions and circumstances.  But if patients treat drugs like other consumer goods - by informing themselves, shopping among alternatives and comparing prices - they are almost assured of lower drug bills.

NOTE: Nothing written here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the National Center for Policy Analysis or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before Congress.

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