7 On Your Side: Saving big bucks on prescription drugs

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 06:31PM
Nina Pineda provides money-saving tips on prescription drugs.


NORTHVALE, New Jersey - Deductibles are going up, co-pays are shrinking and drug prices are outpacing inflation, but here are some great ways to save when you fill your next prescription.

We price compare for everything from shoes to SUV's. So why not for medicine? Especially for those uninsured, there are way to save thousands a year.

Shrinking your pill bill may start with a few clicks. ScriptSave Well RX compared the generic form of the cholesterol drug, Crestor, across the tri-state area.

It could cost you as much as $105.77 for a 10mg month's supply but according to SciptSave Well Rx, using it's service and savings card, you could price shop that cash, no insurance price down to $16.70. A savings of $89.07.

"It just pays to be a smart consumer, even in healthcare, you need to be a healthcare consumer, instead of a healthcare patient," said Shawn Ohri, of ScriptSave WellRX.

Big box stores, groceries and drug stores all offer membership clubs and discount cards to save on the sky-rocketing cost of medicine.

Free memberships in online services like ScriptSave WellRx and GoodRx, websites that provide coupons and negotiate discounts with pharmacies, allow your fingers to do the walking before you do the running around.

"There's many cases where we can actually beat your insurance co-pay or if you're in a high deductible health plan there are many cases where our price may be lower," Ohri said.

For example, according to WellRx, in the low-income areas of the Bronx, the generic version of the popular sleep aid, Lunesta,for someone with no insurance can cost six times more at one store than at a pharmacy less than a mile away.

At Us Pharmacy lab in Northvale, New Jersey, Pharmacist David Yoon feels the comparison services are a good starting point for consumers looking to save.

"It's not 100-percent accurate, but it gives you a ball park figure who's cheapest in your neighborhood," Yoon said.

Ohri suggests always calling the pharmacy to get an updated actual price. And, most importantly, steer clear of expensive name brand medication if it's okay with your doctor to use the generic form.

"The price difference is astronomical. Sometimes the brand names can cost 50 to 100 times more, especially in the cases where you don't have insurance," Yoon said.

Pharmacists also recommend no matter where you are filling your scripts, consider the relationship with the provider and the safety which comes with having all your records on file.

The big takeaway: There are other ways to save. Ask your pharmacy what the cash or retail price of your prescription is it just might beat your insurance price. Price match. If you see a lower price somewhere else, ask your pharmacy to match or beat it. If they want to keep your business they will. And ask your doctor about an assistance program. If you qualify, you could get the prescription for free.
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