provided by Bracey Pharmacy, Ashland
By Bob Nestor, RPH, Bracey Pharmacy
There are right ways and wrong ways to save money at the pharmacy. While the right ways can help you safely save money, the wrong ways risk your health and can even endanger your life.
Safe: Choosing generics
Before you fill a prescription, talk to your doctor about less expensive options. Ask if there is a generic medication that offers the benefits of the brand name drug.
In most cases, generic medications’ active ingredients are identical to those in brand name drugs. Because the active ingredients are the same, generics have the same risks and benefits as brand-name medications. The difference? According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a generic version of a medication can cost up to two thirds less than a similar brand name medication. You may have to make a few calls and get a new prescription, but the time you invest can yield big savings.
Unsafe: Skipping doses or splitting pills
Medication dosages are an exact science. Do not split your pills unless your pharmacist and physician are fully aware and on board with your cost cutting measure. Skipping doses is a big no-no, too. You may prolong an illness or condition with inadequate treatment and make it more expensive in the long run.
Safe: Understanding your insurance
Know what’s covered and what’s not. Every insurance program has a unique formulary, with different coverage levels and co-pays. Your doctor and pharmacist can work with you to find alternatives that fall within your formulary and budget.
Unsafe: Buying from questionable sources
Our e-mail in boxes are flooded with too-good-to-be-true prices from online “pharmacies.” What you get could be an out of date drug or an improperly stored medication that’s been rendered useless. Putting your health in the hands of a faceless stranger that may not even be a pharmacist is a huge risk.
When it comes to cutting prescription costs, the first priority should always be safety. Make the first step of any plan talking to your doctor and pharmacist.