Medicine Information

Cut Your Prescription Drug Costs Without Having to Buy Foreign Drugs


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 and meet the same government quality control standards.

Savings on brand name vs. generic drugs will vary from drug to drug and pharmacy to pharmacy but can be significant. Some remarkable examples:

* Prozac brand 20mg, 100 tablets cost $280.19
Generic sells for $29.99 (Savings 89%)

* Vasotec brand 5mg, 100 tablets costs $103.59
Generic sells for $18.19 (Savings 82%)

Ask Your Doctor is an Older Medication is as Effective - Often, physicians prescribe a newer drug that has been promoted as more effective. However, what this really means is that it is considerably more expensive. For example, newer antibiotics are often no more effective than the older antibiotics. A great generic broad-spectrum antibiotic can cost 80% less than a new antibiotic.

Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter (OTC, non-prescription) medicine - Sometimes an OTC medication can be as effective as the prescription, and if it is, chances are the OTC medicine will be considerably cheaper. For example, a one-month supply of Pepcid 20mg costs approximately $60. Pepcid AC, over-the-counter in 10mg strength (you would simply take two) costs approximately $23.

Cut Your Costs in Half by Using a Pill Splitter - Most pharmacies stock pill splitters. Sometimes, medications can be broken in half and save you 50%. Why? Several pharmaceutical manufacturers price some of their medications the same for all strengths. For example, Lipitor is almost the same price for all strengths. It's 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.

If your medication can be split, make sure you check the figures. 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.

Disclaimer: Using a pill splitter is not appropriate for all medications and could be dangerous if done with the wrong medication. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if there would be any problems with splitting the tablets or capsules.

Ask your doctor for a "trial prescription" when starting a 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 cannot be returned once they are dispensed. If you get a month's supply and can't tolerate the medicine or, you don't want to continue the medicine, you'll have saved money by not buying a full prescription at the start.

Ask for free samples of your prescription medicine - If it's your first prescription for a particular medicine, this is also a good way to "try" the medicine to see how well it works for you and how well you tolerate any side effects. However, even though it is nice to have a free drug for a week or two, make sure it's not a high-priced alternative that will end up costing you more when it comes time to pay for a full prescription.

Consider using mail-order pharmacy services - You can usually order up to a 3-month supply of your prescription medicine for about 30% less than the individual prescription refills. Mail-order pharmacies are also more private and often more convenient. You should be aware, however, that a mail-order pharmacy can't fill prescriptions as fast as your pharmacy. So mail order is usually best for maintenance-type drugs. If you use an Internet pharmacy service, be sure it carries the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practices Sites (VIPPS) seal, which identifies sites licensed to sell prescription medicines online.

It pays to "shop around" - Prices can vary from one pharmacy to another. However, instead of filling your medicines at a number of different pharmacies on the basis of lowest price or when you find a bargain price, ask if your regular store will match it. It's best to buy your medicines at a pharmacy that keeps track of everything you're taking, allowing the pharmacist to warn you about potentially harmful medicine interactions.

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 condition. In addition, make sure you understand exactly what it is meant to do and for how long. If you are prescribed two drugs for the same symptom, ask if you really need both.

Look into prescription medicine discount programs from the manufacturers - Most pharmaceutical companies have programs that provide medicines at little cost or offer discounts on their medicines for people with low to modest incomes and/or no insurance coverage. Check manufacturers' websites, including http://www.helpingpatients.org, for more details.

Veterans May 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. To see if you qualify for benefits contact the Veteran's Administration.

Once a year, have your doctor review your medications - Find out if you are paying for some drugs you no longer need or if less expensive versions have become available since the last time you checked. In addition, it's a good idea to review all your prescriptions with your pharmacist in addition to your doctor. A pharmacist's valuable knowledge is free, and s/he may find something your doctor missed. Ask questions about side effects and drug interactions.

Join AmeriPlan® USA - AmeriPlan® USA, the nation's premier health benefits plan, can save you up to 50% off most generic drugs and up to 25% off most name brand drugs at thousands of retail pharmacies nationwide. Plus by using the plan's mail-order service, you can expect to see even greater savings.

But AmeriPlan® saves you money on much more than prescriptions. Included, at no additional cost, are Dental benefits, Vision care benefits and Chiropractic care benefits. Even with the combined four benefits, AmeriPlan® is more affordable than traditional insurance - only $11.95 a month for an individual and $19.95 a month for an entire household.

Let's face it, sooner or later you or someone in your family will need a medication prescribed by a doctor. The question is not will you pay for the drug but rather which price will you be paying? Full Retail Price or the AmeriPlan® discounted price?

Find out more about how you can save money with AmeriPlan® Health by visiting www.HealthcareWithinReach.com

AmeriPlan Health® benefit programs are NOT insurance, nor are they an alternative to or substitution for insurance coverage. You must use an AmeriPlan® provider and pay the discounted fee at the time of service. Visit http://www.ameriplanusa.com/disclaimer.asp for more information.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this report is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of medical care or advice and is not a substitute for personal, hands-on medical attention, diagnosis or treatment. Persons requiring diagnosis or treatment or with specific questions are urged to contact their personal healthcare provider for appropriate care.

This article was written by Melissa Horn, a mother of two kids under five, a novice golfer & an AmeriPlan USA Broker. Contact her at melissa@healthcarewithinreach.com


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