5 Ways to Help Lower the Cost of Your Prescription Drugs

Patients across the country are digging deeper into their pockets as the prices of prescription drugs, particularly generic drugs, are rising at alarmingly high rates.

Many patients are no longer able to afford the steep prices for over-the-counter medications and pills at their local drugstores or pharmacies, but need to know about the safe resources to pursue when looking for ways to cut the cost of their prescriptions.

The rising prices of generic prescription pills

Prescription generics make up over 60% of all prescription medications sold. Many people find these to be a more affordable option to expensive branded products. However, in the last 12 months, a survey conducted by Consumer Reports Health found that some prices have skyrocketed by as much as 50% and 10% of generic medications have doubled in price.

Why Hispanics are particularly affected by increases in prescription costs

According to government statistics, about one third of Hispanics in the country still do not have health insurance.  And, in fact, one third of Hispanics participating in the Consumer Reports survey said they were paying for their medications out-of-pocket. The result is that many of them are never able get their prescriptions filled and some can only get them partially filled.

5 Tips of how you can cut the cost of your prescription pills

So where can consumers struggling with the cost of prescription medications turn to for help? Is there a way to lower the cost of your medications?  There are several steps you can take to fight back these skyrocketing prices and still get the prescription drugs you need:

  1. Shop around. The prices of medications vary greatly from pharmacy to pharmacy. (Remember, your prescription is your property – hold on to it)
  2. Look beyond big retail pharmacies. Many times “mom and pop shops” offer better prices on some medications and are willing to work with you.
  3. Some larger chain retailers such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and Target offer discount drug programs that you can enroll in. Get information from various ones to compare and see if you qualify.
  4. Use technology to help you. There are emerging sites such as LowestMed that are free, where you can type in your zip code and compare prices between various drug stores.
  5. Talk to your doctor. He or she may know the best option for you to help you lower the cost of your medications. Also, the doctor to prescribe lower-cost generic drugs if they are available.

More people are taking medications than ever before

More than 109 million people take medications in the United States according to a Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Tracking Poll. That’s one out of three patients in the country, and an average of 4.7 medications per person.  

The poll also found that patients ages 18 to 39 are now taking medications more than ever. One out of four patients in this group takes a prescription medication. With such staggering costs for some generic brand drugs, affordability has become a major concern, especially for minorities.

The legally innocent and painfully obvious pattern of rising drug costs

The trend of the rising cost of prescriptions feels like a slow moving tsunami to those taking medications in the US, yet it’s hardly a crime. Lack of third party prince control, limited competition, lengthy patents, small markers, production costs, and fewer and fewer generic options round out the top reasons drug prices are rising. The hallmark example of hiked up drug prices is found in the prescription Daraprim. Martin Shkreli , founder of Turing pharmaceuticals, famously bought the HIV fighting medication from impax laboratories and immediately hiked the price by 500%- from $13.50 per pill to $750.  

But Remember, you medication is important

Your medications are prescribed by your doctor(s) for important, perhaps life-saving reasons. It is vital to take these prescription medicines and use the 5 tips offered above, otherwise you may suffer the consequences of your disease down the road and help avoid further complications.