There are over 140 drug manufacturers offering drug copay coupons to entice consumers to buy more than 440 different medications. These coupons are given to patients by doctors and pharmacists. They are also available online. However, affordable alternatives, such as generic drugs, exist for many of these medications. In addition, drug copay coupons can negatively affect the privacy of your personal health information and your health care costs.

Now here’s where it gets dicey. To register for a drug manufacturer’s coupon program, you must give the manufacturer your name and personal data. When you use the coupon at the pharmacy, this data becomes linked to your pharmacy records and personal health information, which drug manufacturers then buy from pharmacies. Manufacturers can sell your personal health information to other companies, such as insurers, send you offers and other marketing by mail, and, as explained in the Wall Street Journal, match your personal health information with your TV-viewing habits in order to target your home with specific TV advertisements. Privacy protection laws prohibit none of this.

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Using drug copay coupons actually increases the cost of health care coverage. A drug copay coupon lowers your out-of-pocket expenses by reducing your copayment. However, a copayment is only a tiny percentage of the cost of a drug. Your employer or health insurer is then left to pay for the expensive name brand drug causing health care premiums to rise.

Alternatives

Just as there are knock offs and imitations of name brand clothing that can be purchased for a fraction of the price, there are generic drugs available for a fraction of the price, 90 percent on average, of their more expensive name brand counterparts. However, unlike knock offs and imitations, generic drugs have the same quality as name brand medications. Generic drugs are approved by the FDA and are proven to have the same active ingredient and effect as their name brand equivalent. Generic drugs can replace most medications. In fact, over 80 percent of prescriptions in the U.S. are filled with generic drugs.

Drug Copay Coupons and Medicare

It is illegal to use a manufacturer copay coupon with Medicare or any other federally funded health care program such as Medicaid or the Veterans Administration.

Uninsured or Underinsured

A drug copay coupon may seem like a good idea if you do not have health insurance or have limited coverage. However, you may be surprised to learn that many coupons can only be used if you have health insurance. This is because manufacturer copay coupons are meant to sell expensive name brand medications in place of low cost generic alternatives.

If you are uninsured or underinsured, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any low cost alternatives, such as a generic drug, that could be prescribed in place of a name brand medication. You may also want to see if you are eligible for one of these Patient Assistance Programs or if there are any health care facilities in your area that participate in the 340B Drug Discount Program.

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Biological Drugs

Biological drugs are expensive, and, despite having health insurance, people taking biological drugs often have a high copayment. As such, drug copay coupons are available for 70 percent of biological drugs. In some cases, a cheaper alternative, such as a generic drug, may exist. In other cases, you may have no other option than to use a drug copay coupon.

With rising prescription and health care costs, a drug manufacturer copay coupon may seem like a good way to save on out-of-pocket expenses. However, these coupons give drug manufacturers your personal health information and cause health insurance premiums to rise. In most cases, a less expensive generic drug can be prescribed. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about low cost alternatives. Consider visiting eDrugSearch.com where you can check drug prices using eDrugSearch.com’s free cost-comparison tool that helps uninsured and underinsured consumers get safe access to affordable medications at up to 80 percent off U.S. retail drug prices.