What can you do about increasing drug costs?
When it comes to increasing healthcare costs, you can exert control by educating yourself, making sure you take your medications correctly, communicating with your doctor and pharmacist, and making lifestyle changes that might improve your medical condition.
- Shop around for the best prices. A study by AARP and the Washington state attorney general’s office showed that drug prices fluctuated between pharmacies by as much as $44 for a one-month prescription. But once you settle on a pharmacy, it’s often good to have all your prescriptions filled there so the pharmacist knows everything you’re taking.
- Read your prescription. Know what drug your doctor has prescribed and the dosage. Be certain your medicine bottle says the same thing – both on initial filling and on refills. Some drug names are similar in spelling.
- Talk to your doctor. Be sure you understand your medication, instructions for taking it, and how it will help you. Ask when the best time of day is to take your prescription.
- Ask if there is a lower-cost therapeutic alternative or generic you can switch to.
- Ask your doctor for free samples. Your doctor often has a supply of samples ready to hand out. This is especially helpful when you’re only going to need a small supply of the medication.
- Talk to your pharmacist about everything you’re taking—medicines, herbals, and vitamins. Drug interactions can prevent your medications from working properly.
- If taking multiple medications, review your drug list with your doctor every six months.
- Ask for a generic equivalent. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if one’s available and appropriate for you.
- Take your medications as prescribed. Some people deal with high prescription costs by not filling their prescriptions or by skipping doses. But doing so can prolong an illness or seriously risk health, ultimately increasing the cost of treatment.
- Make lifestyle changes. Sometimes quitting smoking, losing weight, cutting out salt, stretching, or exercising can affect what ails you, so discuss possible lifestyle changes with your doctor.
- Empty out the medicine cabinet. Throw away old medicines and store your current drugs in a cool, dry place—rather than the bathroom medicine cabinet.
Also read: Why generic prescription drugs cost less.
Watch Healthcare Video: Why do some drugs cost more than others?