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Discount Prescription Drugs

How to Get Free or Discount Prescription Drugs

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Updated October 03, 2011

During these difficult economic times, you may be searching for ways to get free or discount prescription drugs. The following are some tips which may help you afford your medications by obtaining discount prescription drugs.

1. Pill Splitting

If high medication costs are getting you down, pill splitting may be the solution you are looking for. Often, higher-dose pills are not that much more expensive than lower-dose pills. By splitting pills which are double your usual dose in two and taking half each day, you can potentially save big on your medication costs. This method is not appropriate for all medications, however, so always consult with your doctor first.

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2. Mail Order

Because online pharmacies do not have the same costs as a traditional brick and mortar store, you may be able to get your prescriptions filled much cheaper. In addition, if you have health insurance, your insurer may offer a lower copay if you use a mail-order pharmacy.

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3. Prescription Assistance Programs

Two types of drug assistance programs exist. The first is a discount drug card program which is offered by several companies. The second, which is offered by most drug companies, is a Prescription Assistance Program (PAP) which provides free and low-cost medication to needy individuals. These programs generally target those without health insurance and people who don't qualify for government-assistance programs.

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4. Buy in Larger Quantities

If you have health insurance, buying a 90-day supply of your medication rather than a 30-day supply may save you money. For example, a copay for a 30-day supply of a particular drug might be $25 compared to $50 for a 90-day supply, which would give you a $100 savings over the course of a year. You'll need to check into the specifics of your plan to determine if this discount is available to you.

5. Ask for Samples

Asking your doctor for free samples of your medication may help you get by temporarily when finances are tight. Pharmaceutical sales reps will often provide doctors with sample packs of medications in order to allow their patients to evaluate the side effects and the effectiveness of the drug before they buy it. Although it's not an effective long-term solution, free samples could be a lifesaver when no other alternatives exist.

6. Go Generic

According to the FDA, generic drugs are an excellent way to save money on medications. Generic drugs are required by law to have the same active ingredients and effects as brand name drugs, but can cost as much as 30% to 80% less than their brand name counterparts.

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7. Look Into Medicare

If you are age 65 or older or have a disability which qualifies you for Medicare, check out their outpatient prescription drug coverage. According to a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on the average, people with limited incomes who qualify for extra assistance will save about 95% on their prescription drug costs.

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Source:

Meadows, Michelle. "Saving Money on Prescription Drugs." FDA Consumer Magazine September-October 2005. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed: April 22, 2009.

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