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Ways to Lower your Prescription Costs

By David Donovan, Independent Health


As the nation's economic recovery continues to be slow, everyone is looking for ways to stretch their paychecks even further. While it is easy to put off unnecessary expenses, medications are not one of those things that people can stop buying.  Even with prescription coverage, prescription drugs can be expensive.  Plus, if you're on more than one drug, your expenses add up quickly. 


Prescription medications help maintain health and prevent chronic conditions.  So, what can you do to keep your prescription costs in check while getting the care you need through medications?  Here are few pointers.


  • Use generic drugs.  Many brand name drugs have generic equivalents that work as well as the brand name but at a lower cost.  Even drugs that do not have a direct generic alternative may be in a class of drugs that do.  Atorvastatin, the generic version of Lipitor, is now available.  Other brand-name prescription drugs that will become available in a generic form by the end of 2012 include:


                    •  Actos
                    •  Avapro
                    •  Diovan
                    • Lexapro
                    • Nasacort
                    •  Plavix
                    • Xalatan
                    • Zyprexa


  • Generic drugs have the potential to provide long-term cost savings not only to patients, but to the entire health system. Talk to your doctor about generic and alternative medications.


  • Take your medications as directed.  If you don't follow the directions, the drug may not work - which means you might have to pay for the prescription all over again. 


  • Ask about tablet splitting.  Some medications with different strengths cost the same - one lower strength tablet cost the same as the higher strength dose. By splitting the higher strength in half, you will get two doses for the price of one, saving you money.  Not all medications should be split in half, so check with your doctor.


  • Try an over-the-counter medication.  Several drugs that used to be available by prescription have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be sold over-the-counter.  Sometimes, they cost less.  


As always, check with your health care professional about your medication needs. You can also visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website at for more information about prescription drugs.


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