Diabetes – 5 Ways to Save Money on Medicine

Are you struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of medication? Would you rather spend $50 on an evening out than on a drug co-pay?

Here are 5 ways to keep your hard-earned money in your pocket.

1. Look for pharmaceutical company coupons. If you bother to use a 50 cent coupon for a can of beans, wouldn’t you be delighted to save $50 on medication? Even if you have prescription coverage, you can easily save $10 to $50 toward your co-pays. In recent years pharmaceutical companies have increased medication prices to allow brand-name drugs to compete more effectively with generic medications: they raise the prices, then offer coupons to defer your out-of-pocket expenses. Do an online search or try entering the medication name as a domain name.

2. Look for drug store coupons. Chain pharmacies try to lure new customers by offering coupons or discounts on new or transfer prescriptions. Often these coupons are worth more than the cost of medication, commonly $20 to $25 toward store merchandise. Check online at the chain store web sites, and keep an eye out for offers in the mail or your local newspaper. Transferring a prescription to a new pharmacy does not commit you to staying with that pharmacy forever – though the store is certainly hoping that you do so.

3. Enroll in a patient assistance program. If you lack insurance and your income is less than 2-3 times the federal poverty level, you may qualify for free medication under a pharmaceutical company’s patient assistance program. Instead of saving $10 or $20 on monthly medication, you may save as much as thousands of dollars a year. Many of the expensive diabetic medications are available at great savings through the Together Rx Access program at the web site of the same name.

4. Ask your doctor for samples. If you don’t qualify for a patient assistance program but do require one of the newer diabetic medications, ask your doctor for samples. Though your doctor may not be able to give you an on-going supply, even a week’s worth every few months could amount to hundreds of dollars a year. If your doctor doesn’t have samples, he can request them through the drug company. Your doctor may also have coupons that are a better deal than what you can find online.

5. Ask your doctor for generic medication. Just because your doctor has prescribed you a brand-name medication doesn’t mean that’s the final answer. Your physician may be unaware of your finances or insurance situation. He may not even know the cost of the medication prescribed. Print a copy of a $4 list from your local chain store pharmacy and take it with you to your doctor, who may then be able to find an affordable option for you.

Copyright ©2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.

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