Did you know that US pharmacies filled nearly 3.8 billion prescriptions in 2019? Of that total, more than 185.32 million were cash-based refills.
With so many folks relying on these meds, it’s no wonder they cost the US hundreds of billions each year. In 2019, prescription drug revenues alone totaled $446 billion. This immense spending is also attributable to the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs.
Fortunately, several strategies can help you save on prescriptions. We’ve rounded up the top ones in this guide, so be sure to read on.
Switch to Generic Drugs
One of the best ways to save money on prescriptions is to ditch branded drugs and buy generic versions. These cheap medications come with price tags that are 80% to 85% lower than the branded ones.
Generic drugs are cheaper because they already have an existing formula to follow. That formula comes from their branded original predecessors.
Generic drug makers must follow the original drug’s formula as closely as possible. As a result, they don’t have to invest as much time and money to create a new product from scratch. They spend less on marketing, too, as the public already has an idea of the original drug’s efficacy.
Generics are so cheap that they helped the US healthcare system save nearly $2.2 trillion from 2009 to 2019. In 2019 alone, these low-cost drugs allowed the country and its people to save $313 billion.
You don’t have to worry about safety and efficacy, either, as generic drugs must meet FDA approval. These medications only make their way into the market after undergoing stringent testing. Generic drug makers must first meet all FDA regulations to market their products.
Buy Them From a Legitimate Online Pharmacy
Legitimate online pharmacies (LOPs) offer low-cost drugs as they have lower overhead costs. Unlike physical stores that rely on on-site staff, LOPs have fewer staff members. LOPs also have reduced office-related expenses, as they mostly operate online.
Those lower overhead costs then get shared with consumers as cheaper prescriptions. As such, LOPs can help you get more savings on prescriptions.
However, since LOPs are businesses, they must still have a physical, brick-and-mortar office. Moreover, they must hold a license issued by a pharmacy regulatory agency. In the US, state pharmaceutical boards are the primary regulators of pharmacies.
All 50 US states and the four US jurisdictions have their own board of pharmacy. All these individual boards are National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) members. The NABP is the national organization that facilitates and supervises all state boards.
Canada has similar licensure laws; pharmacy regulatory authorities must license pharmacies here.
The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities is the equivalent of NABP. NAPRA regulates each Canadian province’s corresponding College of Pharmacy/Pharmacist or board. Note that NAPRA is an associate member of NABP, too.
LOPs make it easier to verify their legitimacy as they publish their license info online. Once you obtain their license number, you can run it through an online license lookup tool. If it’s valid, that means the online pharmacy is a licensed, valid entity.
Use a Drug Price Checker
Whether you buy prescriptions in-store or online, be sure you know how much they cost on average first. Using an online price checker tool is a smart way to find out more information on how much your medicines cost. Make sure you obtain price quotes for different brands of your meds, too.
Price checking allows you to figure out how much you’d have to spend on a particular brand or Canada drugs. Even a $1 price difference can already equate to a lot of savings if you need to take your meds for a long time. That $1 per pill or tablet saving can translate to a savings of at least $365 a year.
Take Advantage of Coupons and Money-Saving Deals
Discount coupons, ranging from $5 to $20, are available for most prescription drugs. The exact rates vary, but they all have the same goal of helping consumers save money on pricey drugs. The mechanics also differ, but most just require you to buy a specific quantity or meet a purchase amount.
Many online pharmacies charge a flat rate of about $10 for shipping, so be sure to look for free shipping offers, too. This is especially helpful if you take multiple prescriptions for chronic ailments. You can have all your purchased prescription medications shipped together for free.
Be sure to check if the pharmacy offers discounts for buying in bulk, too. You can save more if you can pair this with free shipping.
Speaking of bulk orders, note that the allowable quantity depends on the exact type of drug you need. Some have 30-day supply restrictions, while others allow up to a 90-day supply. If allowed by law, your doctor can write a prescription for the larger quantity.
See if You’re Eligible For a Patient Assistance Program
Some pharmaceutical companies implement patient assistance programs (PAPs). Qualified patients can get their prescriptions for free or at a much lower cost. However, it’s also because of these benefits that PAPs have stringent eligibility criteria.
For example, most PAPs require applicants to meet a certain low-income threshold. Another requirement is that the patient must prove they can’t afford health insurance.
Even if you qualify for a PAP, it may only be for a certain length of time. Some programs may also limit the number of free or low-cost medications you qualify for. Once you run out of supplies, make sure you explore your LOP options.
Follow These Techniques To Save on Prescriptions Starting Today
From going generic to buying online, all these tactics can help you save on prescriptions. Don’t forget to check multiple rates and scour the net for discounts and deals, too. All in all, the more of these techniques you follow, the greater your savings can be.
Ready for more tips on how to save on medications, stay healthy, or enjoy life more fully? Check out our site’s other categories for more informative resources then!