Every year for the last five years, the prices of the 50 drugs most used by older Americans have increased faster than the rate of inflation, according to Families USA, a nonprofit organization in favor of affordable health care.
Americans pay more for prescription drugs than anywhere else in the world. Many people on low or fixed incomes are desperate for relief from the high prices of the medications they need.
Because of the escalating prices, many Americans are forced to go without the medications or give up other basic necessities in order to afford their prescriptions.
However, there are some things you can do to help control your prescription drug expenses. Here are a few tips from PolarMeds Pharmacy:
* Be sure the medication is covered under your insurance. Most patients have some type of health insurance. However, your policy might not cover all of the medications you need.
Ask your doctor if the prescribed medication is covered under your insurance.
* Substitute a generic equivalent. The drug companies that make generics must meet the same rigorous standards as the brand-name drug companies. The generic medications work the same way, and you can save
hundreds of dollars a year.
Before getting your prescription filled, ask if the drug is available in generic form. On the prescription, there is often a box that can be checked off, which has wording like “substitute for equivalent drug.” That statement allows the pharmacist to switch to a cheaper, generic equivalent medication.
* Take advantage of pill cutting. Most medications come in several different dosages. When prescribed a medication, ask your doctor if it can be cut in half.
Cutting a pill in half that is twice the dosage you usually take can often save you 25 percent to 50 percent off your usual prescription costs. Pill cutters cost only about $3 and can be found at any drugstore. Do not use a knife or razor blade.
* Do some comparison shopping. If your neighborhood pharmacy does not provide the best prices, go elsewhere. One option is to order online or by mail order through Canada, where prices are generally 30 percent to 50 percent cheaper than in the United States.