Saturday, September 1, 2007

Save Money on Prescriptions

I recently wrote several blog posts describing how patients with more than $90 in prescription medication expenses who were without prescription drug coverage and met certain income eligibility requirements (generally 2 times the Federal poverty level) could qualify for patient assistance programs sponsored by the large pharmaceutical companies. I also described how AmeriPlan®, a discount dental and medical benefits company, had created the Ameriplan® Prescription Advocacy Program to help patients navigate the complicated paperwork required to access these patient assistance programs.

What if you do not qualify for a patient assistance program? How can you save money on your medications?

One thing that you can do is ask your healthcare provider to prescribe the generic version of the more expensive brand name medication. Most generic drugs are cheaper than their brand name equivalents. Both generic and brand name medications must meet the FDA’s rigorous standards, so consumers can be confident that there is no discernable difference between generic and brand name drugs. According to Gary J. Buehler, Director of the Office of Generic Drugs for the FDA: “The American public can be confident that when a generic drug product is approved, it has met the rigorous standards established by the FDA with respect to identity, strength, quality, purity, and potency.

Avoid taking a new and more expensive brand name medication when an older drug is available and is equally effective. In some cases, generic drugs may prove to be safer than brand name medications. Most generic drugs have been on the market for several years, so potential side effects and problems are better known that with newer drugs. The site worstpills.org reports that there have been many more incidences of health problems associated with brand-name drugs than with the older generic drugs. Worstpills.org recommends that consumers stay away from newly launched drugs for several years until both safety and efficacy are well established. For example there have been many reported serious side effects for the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia. The older drug, Glucotrol, provides equally effective blood glucose control without the serious and possibly deadly side effects of Avandia.

Do some comparison shopping. Consumers can cut their prescription drug costs by doing some comparison shopping both locally and online. Compare prices at local pharmacies, supermarkets and department stores. Also, compare different online sources as well. A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis reveals that price comparison shopping can reduce prescription costs for some common drugs up to 90%

Consider enrolling in a discount health plan with a prescription discount card. Even if you have medical insurance, you may not have adequate prescription drug coverage. AmeriPlan® offers several excellent health programs which include an Rx benefit. With AmeriPlan® you can save up to 50% on your prescriptions with even larger discounts available on mail order maintenance medications. These savings are available on all prescriptions at over 50,000 participating pharmacies throughout the Nation. For more information call 1-800-635-3394 or visit:
http://www.healthplansplus.net.

1 comment:

Tip Diva said...

Thank you for submitting this post to Carnival Of Tips.

I would also suggest to check if your employer has a prescription plan. Mine does, and it means I must send out for my recurring prescriptions. However, it's much cheaper in the long run.