The drastic rise of medication costs has been at the forefront of many news reports, something that has created a roadblock for proper healthcare. Even with the presence of insurance, patients are having to bear the cost-sharing burden. If you are like most patients, the moment you receive a prescription from your doctor, you get into an autopilot mode immediately by dashing to your local pharmacy.

The problem is that most people believe that all local pharmacies charge the same and are cost-effective. That’s not the case. Prescription prices in your local pharmacies vary, and often even those owned by the same pharmacy chain offer different prices. These variations reflect the cost of doing business, salaries, the prescription drug acquisition costs, insurance, professional services and rent.

For your local pharmacy to make a profit, it has to sell medications at a mark-up. In the poorest ZIP codes, for instance, the charges are generally high, because only a minority of the residents are insured. If your treatment is long term, it is vital that you compare several local pharmacies – you could save a significant amount of money. Several strategies, as highlighted below, can also be considered to save money on healthcare.

Choose Generic Medication

Generic medications offer cost savings, and most prescription insurance plans prefer these. Because there are many manufacturers producing generics, pharmacies make higher profit margins with them. Generics are as safe and effective as the original brand names of the medication. 

Although the inactive ingredients vary, the active drug meets the specified production standards and treats the condition the same way as the original brand. Understand that generics are cheaper because the company producing them did not spend too much money on research and development. Without the additional overhead, the companies copy the original formula and spend less on providing it.

Get an Alternative Choice

Many times, there is more than one option for treating a particular condition. When prescribing, your doctor may not know about the cost of the medication. If the price of the drug is high, check if your pharmacist can recommend alternatives. Insurance providers use drug formularies, specifying the type of medicines preferred to cut costs.

Be a Savvy Shopper

Given that the prices of medications vary, you cannot know a desirable option without research. When with insurance coverage, do your due diligence to try to find better prices. You could find a higher co-pay through a membership program, or take advantage of mail-order services. For long-term medication, the mail order service of your insurer could be more affordable than getting the drugs at your local pharmacy.

Take Advantage of Manufacturer Savings Programs

Some manufacturers assist consumers in getting cost-effective medication. If you do not have funded insurance by the state or the federal government but are insured, you could qualify for a drug savings card to purchase certain brand-name medications at a lower cost, resulting in significant savings. If you are a first-timer, you could also be at an advantage of free trial programs on certain brand name meds.

Order Fewer, Higher Dosage Drugs Online

Many tablet medications can be split into parts, which can help you to save money on healthcare. It means ordering fewer pills in higher doses to allow you to cut each tablet in half. Most of them have scores or a line in the middle to make this easier. Understand that some drugs lose their effectiveness once cut, especially those with time-release formulations – others, when cut in half, can result in side effects such as stomach irritation. If the pill given is too small or has an unusual shape, it may not be easy to split accurately.

The right medication for your condition can save your life. However, this cannot happen if you can’t afford it. Always discuss options with your doctor to ensure you get your prescription medicines when you need them, and consider ordering from an online pharmacy as they often have better prices. Remember, when paying for prescriptions, be pushy, and try to negotiate for a lower quote.