April 2, 2017 Prescription Medication Savvy
Last Sunday, pharmacist Dennis McCallister, RPh, who sits on the Arizona State Pharmacy Board, graced us with a discussion about medicines and answered many questions. I’d like to follow up with a few additional thoughts about prescription drugs.
Reduce your medication costs:
· Have access to your drug formulary, the list of medicines your insurance company approves of, and the prices for each, often expressed as “tiers”, i.e. Tier 1, 2, and 3. These documents can usually be found on your health insurer’s website.
· When you get a new medicine, ask the cost BEFORE you fill it. You may be able to substitute a generic, go back to your doctor for a cheaper medication, or find a coupon for the drug online. Search for a coupon by using the drug name, i.e. “Invokana discount coupon.” Many new, expensive drugs have coupons available online that can lower the price considerably. If this doesn’t work, start an unfamiliar medicine by asking for a “partial fill,” such as one week, to see if you can tolerate it. Nothing is more annoying that an expensive medicine you can’t take.
· Dennis noted that generics are usually made by the same companies that make name brand drugs and are just as effective. Try them.
· www.needymeds.org is a clearinghouse for information about drug discount programs, coupons, and patient assistant programs where one can obtain free or deeply discounted medicines if you meet specific insurance and income criteria.