It’s just what the doctor ordered: saving money on your prescriptions. Learn how to communicate more efficiently with your doctor and pharmacist to find the most cost-effective ways to pay for your medications. Save big with these 5 insider secrets to getting the best drugstore deals.
Drugstore Deal #1: Buy Generic
Generic drugs must be manufactured according to the same standards as brand name drugs in order to meet FDA approval. They cost less because generic drugs don’t incur the same research and development costs; these savings are passed down to the consumer. There may be subtle differences in how your body responds to a generic drug; if you choose to switch from brand name to generic, be vigilant of any changes and see if it works for you.
Drugstore Deal #2: Split Your Pills
This won’t work for all medications – so you’ll have to consult your physician before trying this option. Check your prescription and see if the milligrams match up with the pills. If the pill is double your prescribed dosage, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s fine to break the pill in half. Never split a pill with an enteric coating; this can result in your body absorbing too much of the medication too quickly and be dangerous. Medications marked XR/ER (extended-release) or TR (time-release) should never be split, crushed or chewed.
Drugstore Deal #3: Shop Around for the Best Price
Shop ‘til the prices drop. Research conducted by Consumer Reports found 5 different prices at 5 different stores for the exact same medication. The cheapest was nearly $100 less than the most expensive.
Some pharmacies offer $4 prescriptions for a 30-day supply of medication or $10 prescriptions for a 90-day supply. Ask your local chain drugstore, supermarket or discount retailer if your prescription is eligible. There is no catch; the medication just has to be on the list.
Ask your doctor for free samples of the medication. You can see if it works for you before investing in a whole bottle.
Drugstore Deal #4: Get a Pharmacy Loyalty Card
Sign up for a loyalty card. Every time you make a purchase, you get points that you can cash in on later. Bonus: Go to your pharmacy website and sign up for their email newsletters. You’ll get coupons and members-only offers mailed directly to your inbox.
Drugstore Deal #5: Shop Online
Make sure you are purchasing from a licensed online pharmacy. Look for this seal of approval: a blue oval that says VIPPS, or Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site. This certification comes from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP); you can also visit the NABP website to verify if the site you want to order from is legitimate. Be wary of counterfeit products when ordering from sites not based in the United States.