How to Cut Prescription Drug Costs
In our fourth and final look at An American Sickness by Elisabeth Rosenthal, we look at another important element of our sickcare system and that is how to cut prescription drug costs. Often when we look at buying a car, or a piece of electrical equipment, we shop around. We read reviews, we research to get the best possible deal possible. Why is it then that when it comes to our own healthcare, and in times when this will be likely be a regular monthly cost, do we rarely do the same for drugs or medical devices and equipment?
This blog will look at how to cut prescription drug costs and how it can save you some dollars.
So the first point is, what was touched on in the introduction, we are given a prescription from the doctor, and we go to the pharmacy and simply blindly hand it over and the pharmacist does their job and hands the medication over. At no point in that transaction do we question anything because we totally trust our doctor and do it because we have to.
So what can we do?
Firstly, we can take it upon ourselves to learn about the contents of the drugs we are taking. So what’s in it, why do we need to take it, and why do we need to switch to something new? Often what happens is drug companies revisit old drugs and re-engineer them changing things slightly, and then re-branding them with a different name, and setting the cost up to four times as much as before. One way to cut the costs down is to identify those ingredients that make up the drug and to find a similar alternative instead. Of course, double check with the pharmacist once you have found the alternative that it will do what it needs to do for you.
So the take away point for this is question what you’re taking, question how much you have to take, and do you really need that particular drug and is there a cheaper alternative?
Shop around is the next point. Now although your insurance company may claim that you have to take a certain brand drug, this may not actually be the case. Moreover, one particular pharmacist may be looking to reach his targets for particular drugs and may not be as helpful to you, so it’s important to shop around and to get the best deal you can. There’s a website you can visit, goodrx.com where you can enter your medication and it will provide you with a cost to help you shop better. Use it and save money.
The next point is to consider importing from overseas. There are several countries around the world where you can buy your drugs online and the US has an approved pharmacy with. You can save bundles of money this way if you can find your drug overseas. You can use pharmacychecker.com to see if the overseas pharmacy is legitimate and whether you can bring the drug into the US from there.
Be skeptical of on TV drug advertising. They really hammer the benefits without outlining many of the cons, so do some due diligence on them and see if you can find alternatives.
The final and most interesting point for me is to question your pharmacist and give them the ability to prescribe the drugs for you. Most of the time they know the drugs better than the doctors prescribing them, so by communicating your problem with them, they may be able to help you come up and identify a better solution for you.
We really need to change our attitude towards our healthcare system. It really is a money making industry with people’s health secondary. While other healthcare systems across the world are by no means perfect, they do at least mean that every citizen does have affordable access to treatment without it breaking their banks. Once again, drugs and the pharmaceutical industry does hammer Americans, especially when you consider how much equivalent drugs cost in other countries.