NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 2, 2009

Almost everyone is looking for ways to cut down on their expenses these days. Unfortunately, some people have taken this to an extreme, says the Detroit News.

In a recent Consumer Reports survey of 2,004 people, 28 percent said they have tried to save money on medication by not filling prescriptions, skipping doses and cutting pills in half without their doctors' approval.  Needless to say, this is not a healthy way to cut costs.

There are better ways to go about this, says the News:

  • First of all, don't snub generic drugs; the Food and Drug Administration stipulates that generic drugs must be the same as its brand-name version in "dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, quality, performance and intended use."
  • On average, the generic drug costs $85 less than the comparable brand name alternative.
  • Another way to cut your drug expenses is to fill your prescriptions though a mail order program; many will give you two or three months' worth of drugs for the price of one.
  • If you have insurance, see if your health plan has a deal with pharmacy benefit managers such as Express Scripts, Caremark or Medco, which process drug claims and often give discounts if you order medication in bulk through the mail.
  • Even if you don't have insurance, these companies have good mail order programs.

There are also legitimate online pharmacies that can save you money, says the News.   The National Association of Pharmacies recommends that patients only use sites accredited through its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program.

Lastly, check out your local Wal-Mart or Sam's Club pharmacy, advises the News, because they have a $4 Prescriptions Program.  That's $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for 90 days.  Kmart has a similar program, says the News.

Source: Nancy Trejos, "Don't jeopardize health over drug costs -- go generic," Detroit News, June 1, 2009.


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