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Medication savings

March 23rd, 2010 at 05:15 pm

I'm in pharmacy school and just started rotations. I always have known it is a challenge for many patients to afford their medications. However the current location of my rotation serves a set of patients who have little-to-no income. Many of the pharmacists where I work spend a great deal of time helping patients get their medications. Here are a couple tricks of the trade:

Free medications. Publix, a local grocery store, has offered select antibiotics for free. All you need is a prescription and you can get the medications for free. However they just started a new pharmacy program for diabetes where they are also giving immediate release metformin away for free.

$4 lists. Retail pharmacy chains like Walmart and Kmart offer many common prescription medications for $4 a month or $10 for three months. This can be a huge cost savings for everyone, not just those with low incomes. If you have insurance and your co-pay is more than $4, you will still only have to pay the $4. One down side is how busy these places can be, however.

Patient assistance programs. Patient assistance programs help low income patients receive brand name medications from the manufacturer. Often there is paperwork associated with this, either documentation of previous medications tried, or income statements. The work can be cumbersome, but results in receiving the medication at no cost.

Of course if anyone is having a hard time affording their medications they need to inform their doctor. Doctors may be able to prescribe a lower cost alternative. I see many people chose not to fill certain prescriptions due to cost. Also, abruptly stopping some medications can be dangerous. Do not stop taking medications without first talking to a doctor or pharmacist.

2 Responses to “Medication savings”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    Another thing is that many doctors get free samples of the latest drugs. I've gotten many a new antibiotic for free because my doctor had a shelf full of it and he always has the blood pressure med my mother uses. She's on a fixed income and hasn't paid for her BP meds in years, he's always given them to her.

  2. Jerry Says:

    I like that some of these drugs are being offered for free, because I know of many elderly patients who honestly cannot even afford their insurance copay, let alone the cost of many meds. It is interesting how studying in the health care field really leads you to be able to see things in a new light, I find!
    Jerry

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