Prescription drug price increases are common and routinely put the squeeze on everyday people with no recourse. In fact, hundreds of medications are expected to go up in early 2023 in response to ongoing supply chain challenges and inflation. While that’s good for pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines, it’s not so great for the people buying those medications while also dealing with inflation. If you’re stuck with a monthly prescription you can’t do without, keep reading for five tips to help make those medications more affordable.
1. Ask About Generic Alternatives
Many doctors will default to generic versions of prescription drugs because those drugs are less expensive. Yet, not all of them do. Some doctors simply assume a patient’s insurance will defray the costs of a name-brand medication. In other cases, they don’t think about it at all. If your doctor gives you a prescription, always make a point of asking if there is a generic alternative.
While your doctor may have clinical reasons for sticking with a name-brand drug, they’ll often prove happy to prescribe a generic alternative. Minimally, if they don’t know of a generic alternative, they may tick a box on the prescription that lets a pharmacist substitute a generic alternative. Either way, it can save you a bundle at the register.
2. Bulk Prescriptions
Historically, doctors write prescriptions in 30-day increments. There are good reasons for that, in some cases. Some medications need specific storage conditions or they start losing their effectiveness. Yet, 30 days at room temperature is a short enough period of time that most medications won’t lose their potency.
These days, though, most medications can stand up to room temperatures for a lot longer than 30 days without becoming less effective. That makes a 3-month or 90-day supply a better option for many people. Even better, 90-day prescriptions are often less expensive on a pill-for-pill basis than filling a prescription every month. While doctors can’t or won’t fill 90-day prescriptions for some drugs, such as high-powered painkillers, most will write longer prescriptions for other kinds of medications.
3. Shop Around
While consumers are in the habit of shopping around for everyday consumer goods, they’re far less likely to shop around when it comes to their medications. Most people settle on one pharmacy and always get their medications there. While this is generally more convenient, it’s not always cost-effective. Pharmacies typically make deals with certain pharmaceutical companies to get better prices.
That means that the prices for the same drugs can vary a lot from one pharmacy to the next. By shopping around, you can generally find a better price for the same prescription by going to a different pharmacy chain.
Believe it or not, drug companies will regularly provide coupons for brand-name drugs. They run these coupon programs because they know that their list prices are often beyond the means of the customers who need those medications. Providing a discount via coupons helps to keep the prices within reach for most customers.
Sometimes, you can get these discounts through your insurance provider’s prescription drug options. Other times, you must get the coupons directly from the drug company.
5. Rx Discount Cards
If you don’t have insurance or your health insurance prescription option is only so-so, you can also keep costs down with Rx discount card programs. These programs usually exist independently of formal insurance programs but can take quite a bit off the top. The good news is that you can often use a prescription discount card with the insurance you already have.
So, for example, let’s say that your health insurance knocks a little off the top of the medication you need. Using the discount card can drop the price even more.
Keeping Your Medications Affordable
With inflation bearing down on everyone’s budgets, finding ways you can save money is more important than ever. Given that prescription medications are often expensive, it makes sense to look for ways you can keep those medications affordable or at least more affordable. You can always ask your doctor about generic alternatives or bulk prescriptions, which are often less expensive. You can shop around at different pharmacies for a better price. Drug companies will often provide coupons for specific brand-name medications. Discount Rx card programs can also keep the cost at the register reasonable.