How can you save money on prescription medications? Today’s lookback blog: Prescription Medication: 5 Things Healthcare Consumers Can Do to Pay Less Today – helps answer that question.
Prescription drug costs are predicted to increase 11.6 percent in 2017, while wages are expected to rise only 2.5 percent. What can you do to lower the cost of prescription medications? Recommendations include:
- When given a prescription, ask: “Is this generic?” If the answer is no, ask: “Is there a medication that treats my condition that is available as a generic? I would not want to be in a position where I can’t fill it because it is too expensive.” The wording is important. Don’t just ask: “Is this medication available as a generic?” because your doctor may only consider direct generics for the brand name drug.
For example, if your doctor writes a prescription for Januvia—a diabetes pill that costs $356 for a 30-day supply—and you ask: “Is this medication available as a generic?” your doctor will say no because it’s still on patent and only available as a brand-name drug. HOWEVER, if you ask: “Is there a medication that treats my condition that is available as a generic?” then the answer is yes because Metformin costs $4 for a 30-day supply, Glipizide costs $4 for a 30-day supply and Glyburide costs $4 for a 30-day supply. Phrasing the question correctly could save you $352/month, $4,224/year!!
- If a pill is a combination of two medications, ask your doctor if you can take the two medications separately as two separate generic pills. There are many brand name medications that are a combination of two generic medications. The only thing that makes them ‘brand’ is that they are combined into one pill instead of two.
- Ask if there is a way to treat your condition without taking a medication. This is particularly appropriate for upper respiratory infections or colds that are mild and typically viral. With viral upper respiratory infections, antibiotic or antiviral medications don’t help. However, this doesn’t hold true for the flu or pneumonia. In addition, whenever you take an antibiotic, you run the risk of killing the ‘good’ bacteria in your intestines that keep them healthy. Reducing that good bacteria can cause a ‘bad’ bacteria called Clostridium difficile or C. diff to rapidly grow and cause severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. Many people go to the doctor asking for a prescription when they have an upper respiratory infection. Resist the temptation to do so.
To learn more about how to lower the prices of prescription medications:
- Read Compass blog: New England Journal of Medicine: No Easy Answer to High Drug Prices
- Read Compass blog: New Expensive Drugs to Look Out For