Pharmaceutical companies welcomed the year with a price hike on their drugs. Stat News reported a 5% rise in more than 450 medicines, including major medications like Vyndamax for heart complications and Ibrance for breast cancer.
Many patients will further struggle to pay for their medicine with the price hike. In the worst-case scenario, they may skip taking medication altogether. Luckily, there are several ways to save money on prescription drugs.
Ways To Save Money on Prescription Medicine
There are many saves to save money on prescription medication, such as prescription assistance programs, pill-splitting, generic drugs, coupons, and bulk buying.
1. Apply For Prescription Assistance
Prescription assistance programs are provided by state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and drug manufacturers. Their goal is to provide free or low-cost prescription medication to qualifying people. The programs typically have income requirements to ensure that you can qualify for free or discounted drugs.
An example of an organization offering prescription assistance is the nonprofit group NeedyMeds; it offers a list of drugs and its Patient Assistance Program (PAP) on its website. By clicking on the name of your medicine, you’ll see how to access eligibility and contact information.
After filling out the application form, mail it to the PAP for review. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers, like Pfizer and GSK, also sponsor PAPs.
2. Consider Pill-Splitting
Pill-splitting is when you slice a higher dosage pill to get the correct dosage. It saves you money because most drugs are priced equally regardless of the dosage. For example, if you only need 20mg of Atorvastatin, you can purchase 40mg pills instead. As a result, buying a pill twice your dose can save up to 50% of costs.
However, consult your doctor if pill splitting is safe with your prescription. The doctor may not recommend it if your pills are long-acting, capsuled, or pre-packaged in specific doses. For example, a birth control pill taken more than once a day or has an enteric coating designed to protect the stomach. If the doctor gives permission, you can split your pills at home using a pill cutter available at most pharmacies.
3. Take Advantage of Coupons
Pharmacies have coupons just like groceries and retail stores. The coupons get you a percentage discount off your prescription medicine and make it one of the best ways to save money. Unlike assistance programs, coupons are not tied to income and are available for everyone’s use.
Drug coupons are distributed by doctors and pharmacists and offered online. Ask your physician or local pharmacist if they have any to give. However, the second option is the easiest way to get them because they’re more convenient and offer more choices.
AskMoney recommends using GoodRx to save money on medication because they offer up to 80% off your prescription. GoodRx has a website and app to search for your drug and their corresponding coupon offers. SingleCare and RxSaver are other options that have a similar process.
4. Bulk Buy Generic Drugs
Generic drugs have the same ingredients as their branded counterparts. They also have the same quality, effectiveness, and safety but are much cheaper. For instance, a month’s supply of the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor costs $390, while its generic version—Atorvastatin—is only $10 for the same amount.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that generic drugs cost less because they don’t require repeated multiple clinical studies, unlike branded medicine. Despite this, for the FDA’s approval, generics still need to meet the same high standards as brand-name drugs.
During your next appointment, ask your doctor if a generic is available for your prescription medication to save money. If there’s no exact generic drug, ask if there’s a similar drug with a generic version.
Ways to Save Money on Prescription Medication Summary
Your prescription medication can be made affordable by prescription assistance programs, pill-splitting, generic drugs, coupons, and bulk buying. So the next time you go to a pharmacy like CVS, practice our recommendations to ensure that you save as much as possible.