Tired of sky-high medication costs? Annoyed by them breaking your budget? If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the cost of your medications, you’re not alone.
The reality is – the costs of medications are rising, making them add up even quicker. With more than 131 million people [i] taking prescription drugs and the average American spending hundreds of dollars on these medications every year [i],access to treatment can be limited. This tends to result in negative health outcomes, as patients might skip or stop their medications to save money.
It’s important not to let the high costs of medications deter you from taking them. That’s why we’ve compiled four ways to save money on your medications.
Make the switch to generics
A generic drug is a medication that has the same active ingredient as the brand-name drug and provides the same healing effect. [ii] In contrast, a brand-name drug is a medication sold by a drug company that has a tradename and is covered by a patent. [iii]
Similar to brand-name drugs, generic drugs undergo intense trials. They’re just as safe [iv] and can give your body exactly what it needs. The biggest thing that generic drugs boast is their low price. The standard price of generic medications is typically 75% lower than their brand-name counterparts. [v] It’s been reported that generics have saved healthcare consumers more than $1 trillion in the past decade [vi], proving they are a great way to save money when you go to the pharmacy.
Try pill splitting
Pill splitting is a concept where a patient buys their medications at a higher strength and then splits each tablet so he or she is only consuming the recommended dose. This allows you to purchase double the dose of your usual medication for close to the cost of one dose. It’s important to note that the ability to split your pills does depend on your prescription medication, as well as your physician or pharmacist’s permission
Go ahead – ask your doctor if this would be possible for you!
. If granted permission, here’s a basic guide to pill splitting [vii] that has great tips on which pills you can and can’t split safely, as well as the standard dos and don’ts!
Look for medication coupons, savings, and discounts
Everyone wants to purchase the right product at the best price, whether through clipping coupons, finding the best sales, or taking advantage of assistance programs. This goes for medications, too! Here are a few examples:
Coupons & Discounts
Thankfully, there are companies, such as GoodRx, and medication discount cards, such as those from SingleCare, that can significantly decrease the cost of your medications. How? By showing you prescription price comparisons and presenting relevant medication coupons! In fact, research shows that GoodRx has helped Americans save $5.6 billion. [viii]
If you want to take advantage of what either of these companies has to offer, all you have to do is search for your prescription, choose a coupon from the auto-populated list, and show that coupon to your pharmacist.
PAPs (Prescription Assistance Programs)
If you’re uninsured, a drug assistance program might be the right solution for you. PAPs can help by providing eligible applicants [ix] lower prescription costs and/or discount cards. These programs are often offered voluntarily by pharmaceutical companies and typically require an application to be filled out by the health care provider, patient, or both.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist about medication coupons and savings programs such as these – they want you to feel better, so they want to help you out!
Consider 90-day refills
Frustrated with having to make a trip to the pharmacy every month to pick up your prescription? Rather than refilling your prescription every 30 days, requesting a 90-day refill can reduce the amount of time you spend at the pharmacy while also reducing your copay amount. A 90-day refill is a request for three months’ worth of your prescription instead of your typical one month’s worth.
Research shows that approximate savings ranging from $7.70 to $26.86 per patient per year had resulted from the switch to a 90-day supply from 30 days. [x] Every dollar counts!
Figuring out ways to save money on your medications can seem impossible, but follow these tips, and you’re sure to be in control of your health without having to overspend on your medications.
Cover photo by Unsplash
[i] “Prescription Drugs.” Health Policy Institute, 13 Feb. 2019, hpi.georgetown.edu/rxdrugs.
[ii] “Generic Drug FAQs: What Is a Generic Drug?” Drugs.com, www.drugs.com/article/generic_drugs.html.
[iii] “Brand Name (Drugs) – Healthcare.gov Glossary.” HealthCare.gov, www.healthcare.gov/glossary/brand-name-drugs/.
[iv] Wagener, Dan. “Brand vs. Generic Drugs: What’s the Difference? – Goodrx.” The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog, 17 May 2021, www.goodrx.com/blog/brand-vs-generic-drugs-whats-the-difference/#:~:text=Yes.%20Generic%20drugs%20are%20heavily%20regulated%20and%20go,ingredients%20used%20in%20the%20generic%20drug%20are%20safe.
[v] Dicken, John E. “Drug Pricing: Research on Savings from Generic Drug Use .” GAO, www.gao.gov/assets/gao-12-371r.pdf.
[vi] Gupta, Ravi, et al. “Generic Drugs in the United STATES: Policies to Address Pricing and Competition.” Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6355356/#R4.
[vii] “Tips to Save Money on Prescription Drugs.” WebMD, WebMD, 2005, www.webmd.com/drug-medication/guide-to-pill-splitting.
[viii] Hirsch, Doug. “How GoodRx Helped Americans Save $5 Billion – and What’s Next – GoodRx.” The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog, 9 Nov. 2018, https://www.goodrx.com/blog/how-goodrx-helped-americans-save-5-billion-and-whats-next/#:~:text=We%E2%80%99re%20proud%20to%20report%20that%20as%20of%20April,is%20a%20brief%20stop%20on%20a%20long%20journey.
[ix] Understanding Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs). www.bemedwise.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/paps.pdf.
[x] Taitel, Michael, et al. “Medication Days’ Supply, Adherence, Wastage, and Cost Among Chronic Patients in Medicaid.” Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Strategic Planning, 2012, www.cms.gov/mmrr/Downloads/MMRR2012_002_03_A04.pdf.