Cutting Medicine Costs

Medicines are an important part of treating an illness because they often allow people to remain active and independent. But medicine can be expensive. Here are some ideas to help lower costs:

* Tell your doctor if you are worried about the cost of your medicine. Your doctor may not know how much your prescription costs, but may be able to tell you about another less expensive medicine, such as a generic drug or OTC product.
* Ask for a senior citizen’s discount.
* Shop around. Look at prices at different stores or pharmacies. Lower medicine prices may not be a bargain if you need other services, such as home delivery, patient medicine profiles, or pharmacist consultation, or if you cannot get a senior citizen discount.
* Ask for medicine samples. If your doctor gives you a prescription for a new medicine, ask your doctor for samples you can try before filling the prescription.
* Buy bulk. If you need to take medicine for a long period of time and your medicine does not expire quickly, you may be able to buy a larger amount of the medicine for less money.
* Try mail order. Mail-order pharmacies can provide medications at lower prices. However, it is a good idea to talk with your doctor before using such a service. Make sure to find a backup pharmacy in case there is a problem with the mail service.
* Buy OTC medicines when they are on sale. Check the expiration dates and use them before they expire. If you need help choosing an OTC medicine, ask the pharmacist for help.

If you decide to buy medicines on the Internet, check the Web site for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program seal of approval to make sure the site is properly licensed and has been successfully reviewed and inspected by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy