10 tips for saving money on prescription drugs

eDrugSearch.com will soon be releasing our first e-book, 99 Ways to Save Money on Prescription Drugs. To whet your appetite, here are 10 ways to save, courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (who interviewed Dr. Edward Jardini and Steven Findlay, managing editor of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, for their story):

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1. Start with a heart-to-heart with your doctor

Tell him or her, honestly, how much you can afford to spend on medication … In the end, you may find you just don’t need some of the drugs you’re taking.

2. Ask about generics.

These are usually much, much cheaper than brand-name drugs, says Steven Findlay … The cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, he says, is a good example. It costs $95 to $100 a month. A generic alternative, such as Simvastatin, is about $30.

3. Check out the $4 generics many stores now offer.

Those lists expand periodically, Findlay says. And more stores are offering them…

4. Don’t forget over-the-counter medicines.

Consider them especially for allergies and occasional bouts of insomnia and heartburn.

5. Don’t “ask your doctor” like all those ads tell you to

Advertised drugs are expensive, and we often don’t need them.

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6. Be cautious about accepting free samples.

Drug companies don’t give samples to doctors for every medication, just those that bring in the greatest profits…

7. Search the Web.

You probably won’t find generics for less online, but you can save 10 to 30 percent on some brand-name medications if you buy them from reputable online and mail-order pharmacies, Findlay says. “You will cut the brick-and-mortar — the overhead — costs,” he says. Shop around, though. Prices vary.

8. Turn to Canada.

Generics are cheaper here than there. But when it comes to brand-name drugs, you can save significantly, according to Findlay, especially if you’re on two or three medications. You can find online Canadian pharmacies, too. “Don’t go to the fly-by-nights,” Findlay says. “Go to the biggies. They’re not too hard to find.” And don’t worry. Buying drugs from Canada won’t get you in trouble with the law, Findlay says, as long as you’re buying them for yourself and you have a prescription.

9. Look into Prescription Assistance Programs.

Pharmaceutical companies typically offer them to provide free or low-cost drugs to people who lack prescription drug coverage … But you must meet certain income guidelines, and the application process can be time-consuming…

10. Consider pill-splitting.

Sometimes a pill that’s double the dose isn’t double the price. So you can split it in half and save money. Be careful, though … always check with your doctor first.

Compare drug prices and get free rx coupons at eDrugSearch.com