Sometimes one can find better prices on prescription drugs by simply doing a little digging. Comparison shopping, Internet price finders, and manufacturer assistance programs can help.
When it comes to saving money on prescription medications, the local pharmacy may not have the best deal, reports the February 2014 Harvard Health Letter. "A little digging is all it takes to find out," says Laura Carr, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. For people who have to pay the full cost of their medications, or who have a high copay, shopping around is worth it.
Deals can sometimes be found simply by calling a few nearby pharmacies for price checks before dropping off a prescription. Some pharmacies get their drugs from a wholesaler, which has purchased the drugs from the manufacturer. But other pharmacies are able to buy directly from the manufacturer, cut out the middleman, and offer lower prices. As a result, the drug store on one corner may sell a particular medication at a lower price than the store on the opposite corner.
Big box stores and some grocery chains may also have lower prices. Such stores offer 30- and 90-day supplies of dozens of generic drugs for as little as $4 to $10. A list of covered medications should be available from the in-store pharmacy.
Another way to find lower-cost medications is by joining a prescription assistance program. These may provide free medications or offer vouchers and coupons.
Using a free, Internet-based prescription price finder can also help. All that's required is a ZIP code and medication name. Type those into a search box, and the search engine will display the drug's retail price at all nearby pharmacies.
Read the full-length article: "Saving money on your prescription medications " (goo.gl/IDVKqB)
Also in the February 2014 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:
The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $16 per year. Subscribe at www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).