Save Money on Prescription Drugs

How to cut costs without cutting corners

The recession is hitting hard when it comes to healthcare.

A new Consumer Reports study found that two-thirds of patients are taking steps, some of them drastic, to get the medications they need. Patients are skipping doeses, cutting pills in half, taking expired medication, or even sharing prescriptions with others. Some are skipping their drugs altogether. All of the above can be dangerous, even deadly.

But experts say asking a few questions up front can save money, the safe way.

Doctors also say that asking for generic medications can save patients a lot of money. But almost half of the people in the Consumer Reports survey don't think generics are safe or effective.

"FDA approves generic medicines, providing the same medicine and ensuring that they are safe and effective for their intended use," says Kathleen Jaeger of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

But not every drug has a generic version, and not every generic works for every patient. The best advice: ask your doctor. 

"I am seeing more and more people come to me as a pharmacist and asking me 'How can I save money on their prescription meds?'" says pharmacist Stefanie Ferreri.

Consumer Reports found that only 4 percent of patients ever bother to ask their doctor how much a medication costs.

"Patients to some degree need to have a heart to heart when cost is an issue," said Dr. John Santa of Consumer Reports. "It doesn't make much difference if they're not going to be able to afford the medicines that are prescribed."

To see the full report, click here. Also check out the Consumer Reports Health website for more money-saving advice.

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