In 2019, pharmacies in the United States earned revenues totaling $446 billion. That should already give you an idea of how costly medications are in the nation.
In fact, prescription (Rx) medications in the US are so expensive many people choose to skip them. For instance, a 2019 survey revealed that close to half of patients skipped a necessary Rx drug due to its cost.
The good news is that there are many ways to get cheap prescriptions, whether you’re in the US or elsewhere.
This guide rounds up the tops strategies on saving money on prescriptions, so be sure to keep reading.
1. Don’t Always Stick to Brand-Name Medications
Let’s say you need to buy Neurontin as prescribed by your doctor for nerve pain. In this case, be sure to ask your physician if you can instead take gabapentin, the generic version. If your doctor allows you to, your Rx should indicate both the branded and the generic names.
You’d want to consider switching to generics because they can cost 30% to 95% less than brand-name drugs. This is due to generic drug makers not having similar expenses as the brand-name ones do. For example, they don’t spend as much money researching and developing generic drugs.
That’s because generic drugs follow the formula of their branded counterparts. For starters, they have to be bioequivalent to the brand-name medication. This means the generic version must be as effective and safe as its branded predecessor.
Moreover, generic drugs must be available in the same dosages and strengths. Their creators should also make them available in the same administration routes. However, generics have to be different in color or shape to avoid confusion.
In any case, generic drugs are some of the best tools for saving on medications. Best of all, they’re available for both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. So, the next time you’re buying meds, be sure to consider generics for both Rx and OTC products.
2. Always Compare Medication Costs and Prices
Did you know that the United States doesn’t regulate drug prices? Instead, it’s the drug makers that set prices for their products on their own terms. Moreover, pharmacies can charge whatever they want, so some of them jack up prices for the sake of profits.
For those reasons, drug prices almost always differ from one pharmacy to another. For example, a local mom & pop pharmacy may charge less than a big pharmacy retailer. However, a large retailer can also have lower prices to compete with other huge stores.
That’s also why you should take the time to compare drug prices from various sources before you buy them. Fortunately, this is much easier to do now, thanks to online drug price-checking tools. They can help you find cheap prescriptions by comparing offers from different pharmacies.
3. Consider Working With a Legitimate Online Pharmacy (LOP)
Another great way to start saving on prescriptions is to buy them from LOPs. LOPs have low overhead costs as a huge chunk of their operations are online. They then pass off their savings to patients by offering cheap medications.
Just keep in mind that an online pharmacy can only be legit if it’s a licensed and registered entity. After all, strict regulations surround pharmaceutical activities. So, even if a pharmacy is online, pharmacy boards must keep it under close watch.
One way to determine an online pharmacy’s legitimacy is to look for its license details. You should be able to find this on the site’s About Us or Contact Us page. Write it down together with the pharmacy manager’s name and license info, too.
If you’re buying from a US-based site, call your state board of pharmacy. You can find its contact info on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy site. Then, once you get in touch with your state board, provide them the license information you have.
Your state board will then confirm the legitimacy of the online pharmacy for you.
4. Get Cheap Prescriptions in Bulk
Most pharmacies charge a dispensing fee every time they fill prescriptions. This fee is your payment for the services rendered by the pharmacy.
In the US, pharmacy dispensing fees vary from one merchant to another. However, in 2018, the average dispensing fees charged by US pharmacies amounted to $12.40.
That may not seem a lot, but it is if you calculate it in the long term. For example, if you get your Rx filled once a month, that can equate to almost $150 a year on dispensing fees alone. What’s more, those charges are per prescription, so if you have two to fill, then you’d pay double.
For that reason, you might want to buy medications in bulk so that you’d have fewer dispensing fees to pay. Most prescriptions allow for up to 90-day supplies, anyway.
In addition, buying in bulk often leads to lower prices per quantity. So, you can save hundreds of dollars within a year by buying 90-day medication supplies.
5. Look for Flat-Rate Shipping
Another reason to buy in bulk is to pay less for shipping. Most pharmacies charge about $10 per shipment, so if you buy once a month, that’ll sum up to $120 a year for shipping alone.
Fortunately, many pharmacies have a flat shipping rate. This means so you’d pay the same regardless of the parcel’s weight. So, even if you buy 90-day medication supplies, your shipping cost would be the same.
6. Don’t Forget Discounts and Free Shipping
You can make cheap prescriptions cost even less by scouring the net for discount coupons. For instance, some LOPs offer vouchers ranging from $10 to $20 for new customers. Others have coupons for specific drugs, like those for diabetes, hypertension, or asthma.
Many LOPs also offer free shipping if your purchases reach a specific threshold. In many cases, they usually set it between $50 and $100. If your orders reach that, then you may not have to pay for shipping anymore.
Today’s The Day To Start Saving Money On Prescriptions
Saving money on prescriptions should never entail skipping them from time to time. Not only could this make your condition worse, but it could also put your entire health at risk. As a result, you could face even more healthcare costs.
So, follow our tips on getting cheaper prescriptions instead. This way, you can start saving while also improving your health.
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