DRUG PRESCRIPTION DISCOUNTS
Cut the cost of prescriptions up to 70%
Here are 14 ways to do it
SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com has researched 14 ways to cut the costs of prescriptions. We have spent five years gathering and verifying this information. This list has been reviewed by a licensed registered pharmacist.
Because insurance often does not cover prescriptions, this cost has become a critical issue. The price of drugs has been rising faster than the rate of inflation for a number of years. Some elderly people are choosing between eating dinner or taking their prescription medicine. Others are driving to Canada or Mexico to buy drugs at substantial discounts. The cost has become so important to seniors it is an issue in the presidential debate.
In the meantime there is a lot a person can do to dramatically cut the cost of the medicines he or she is taking. Savings of 50% and more are possible. Rick Doble, editor of SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com , adds, "With the price of drugs rising rapidly, it is important that each person take control to reduce those expenses as much as possible. With these tips, just about anyone can find a way to save on prescriptions." Drastic savings are possible. For example, Doble points out that a person who is buying brand-name drugs in small quantities could save a lot if he or she bought generic drugs in larger quantities.
- Even if you must pay for prescriptions yourself, you may still be entitled to a discount simply because you belong to a certain insurance plan. Find out if you qualify for a health insurance discount and whether your pharmacy participates in the plan.
- You may be able to buy prescription pills in double doses, cut the pill in half, and save as much as 40%. You can buy devices that make cutting pills easy. Before you do this ask your pharmacist whether this is appropriate for the medicine you are taking as some pills should not be cut.
- Get regular prescriptions in larger quantities. A full unopened bottle, could save you money per pill.
- Order regular prescriptions through a discount mail-order pharmacy. Generally you must buy a large quantity. Always compare prices.
- Request that your doctor give you the option of taking a generic prescription drug if available. Many generics are made by large drug companies, and all must pass strict government tests. The savings can be considerable. The FDA recently issued a report stating that it found generic drugs worked just as well as brand-name drugs.
NOTE: A pharmacists states that there could be a problem with switching from a brand-name "narrow therapeutic index drug" to a generic equivalent. While starting with a generic in this case should be no problem, switching may require careful monitoring by a doctor as there can be slight differences in the absorption rates (not the medicine's effectiveness) between the two kinds.
- New generics are being introduced on a regular basis. Even if a generic drug was not previously on the market, ask every time a prescription is filled if a generic is now available.
- Comparison shop over the phone. Whether it is a name-brand or a generic drug, call several pharmacies with the identical prescription (same brand, same number of tablets, same strength). However, if you buy medicine from more than one source make sure that your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all the drugs you are taking. This way they can be on the lookout for interactions and duplications.
- Don't pay expensive prescription prices if the drug you take is now available in a less costly over-the-counter form. New over-the-counter versions of prescription drugs are regularly coming on the market. Consult your pharmacist about the appropriate dosage for the over-the-counter drug.
- Some drug stores offer discounts for seniors or for parents of young children.
- Ask your doctor for free drug samples. Pharmaceutical companies give physicians thousands of dollars worth a year. Besides saving you some initial money, a sample also allows you to test a new drug before buying a full prescription. This could save a substantial amount since by law prescriptions cannot be returned for a refund.
- You may qualify for free medicine from drug companies. Participating companies offer a free directory which includes guidelines for eligibility. Ask for: Directory of Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs. Go to their web site at:
- Seniors, especially, should have a doctor and pharmacist review all the drugs they take. They may find duplication and over-medication which is both costly and unhealthy. Also, people over 65 may need less medication than they did when they were younger.
- Talk to your pharmacist. He or she may be much more accessible than your doctor and more aware of drug side effects, interactions and lower cost alternatives.
- Buying several refills together of a regular prescription can save time and money. Most pharmacies have a minimum fee that they charge to fill any prescription. For example, buying a three month supply of pills is often cheaper per pill than getting a refill each month. And you will save time because you will visit the pharmacy less often.
From our March 15, 2002 E-mail Newsletter
---------========| The Canadian Connection |========----------
DEEP DISCOUNTS ON CANADIAN INTERNET PRESCRIPTIONS
Many US citizens are breaking the law, but no one so far has been
prosecuted. Both ABC World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News
reported recently that seniors are buying prescription drugs via
the Internet from pharmacies in Canada, a practice which is
Why are they doing this? The cost difference is dramatic. Some
seniors are saving about 80% on certain drugs. Discounts for many
people seem to run about 40%.
Should seniors be worried about being prosecuted? A FDA (Food and
Drug Administration) official stated "We don't want to punish
Canadian pharmacies are happy to help. They have a strict set of
rules that are spelled out at their web sites.
From our paper edition:
Vol 3 #1, 1997
Name brand drugs and vitamins
In a nationally syndicated radio
program about health, a doctor stated
something that I had suspected for a
He said that store-brand vitamins
and over-the-counter drugs as well as
generic prescription drugs were often
the exact same product as the name-
brand product only with a different
label. Where have we heard this
Some months ago I was told by a
drug store executive that many of
their store-brand products were the
same product as the national brand
only with a different label.
Therefore it almost always pays to
try a drug store private-label
product. If you don't like it, you
can probably return it.
However, prescription drugs cannot
be returned by law. If you want to
try a generic prescription drug, get
a small prescription first. Make sure
that it works properly, before you
buy a large quantity.
You might also ask your pharmacist
about any of the above at his store.
Many pharmacists are quite candid and
will give their honest opinion.
From our paper edition:
Vol. 3, #4, 1997
INTERVIEW WITH A PHARMACIST
For this interview, I spoke with
Phil Alexander, Chief Pharmacist and
Pharmacy Manager at the Kmart
Pharmacy in Morehead City, North
I asked Phil how to save money on
prescriptions. He explained that
there were a number of ways.
Generic medicines can save a
considerable amount of money over a
brand name. However, the doctor must
indicate on the prescription form
that a generic can be substituted if
the patient prefers. The form varies
from state to state. In some states
the doctor merely checks a box; in
other states the doctor signs on a
different line. However, it is often
up to the patient to ask the doctor
to write the prescription so that
generics are allowed.
Generics are tested by the FDA to
perform the same as brand-name drugs.
However, Phil cautioned that if you
are used to certain brand name drugs,
and are you are being treated with
blood thinners, thyroid medicines, or
anti-convulsants you should probably
not switch to a generic.
People on "maintenance medicine"
can save a considerable amount by
buying large quantities at a time.
Smaller quantities generally cost
more money per pill and and the paper
work involved costs more as well.
I asked his opinion of store
He said store-brand over-the-
counter drugs are usually just as
good as the brand name and sometimes
made by the same manufacturer. Many
store brands are developed and tested
so that they perform the same as the
I wanted to know if expensive
vitamins were better than other
kinds. I mentioned that buying
vitamins is one area where people
often spend a lot of money to buy
what they think is a quality product.
I estimated that a consumer can pay
ten times or more for such vitamins.
He agreed and mentioned that some
manufacturers insist their vitamins
are better because they are cold
processed so that the life force is
still in the product. Nevertheless,
he believed that there was no
difference in the benefit to the
However, he pointed out that
"natural vitamins," that is vitamins
with no dyes, preservatives, sugar or
salt might perform better for some
people. These "natural vitamins" are
now available inexpensively or sold
as store brands in many pharmacies.
I asked him how a pharmacist
should fit in with a person's overall
Phil pointed out that a pharmacist
should be an important component.
While people should shop around for
the pharmacy with the best prices,
they should settle on one and then
buy all their drugs at that one
establishment. The pharmacist needs
to look at the complete list of drugs
you are taking so that he or she can
warn you of any side effects or
interactions. If you buy your drugs
at several pharmacies, no one
pharmacist will be able to look at
the total number of prescriptions you
Phil recommended that you also
find a pharmacy where the druggist
will spend time explaining your
medication to you. If he or she
doesn't have the time, then go
somewhere else. You should even be
able to call him or her on the phone
if need be. The pharmacist is a very
valuable resource who may even have a
more complete picture than your
doctor of the medicines you are
Elderly people are sometimes over-
medicated. For example, they might
have two different prescriptions for
similar drugs. A druggist might
notice this. In some cases the
pharmacist can call your doctor and
I asked him about the best way to
store and keep prescriptions.
Phil stated that medicines
deteriorate in a damp or hot
environment. Therefore people should
NOT keep them in the medicine cabinet
in a bathroom. They should not be
stored in a refrigerator either
because it is too damp. Medicines
should be stored in a place that is
cool and dry. He suggested that
people find a drawer in a room that
stays cool and dry. However, keep
them out of the reach of children,
especially young children.
After about a year, most drugs
should be discarded. Many
prescriptions these days have an
expiration date on the label. Throw
them away after that date. Don't try
to save money by using out-of-date