THERE ARE SOME commonsense strategies everyone should consider when trying to lower drug costs, starting with these three:
Ask your doctor whether you need a drug in the first place. You might not. In an April 2017 nationally representative CR survey of more than 1,000 adults who take prescription drugs.
70 percent of those who asked their doctor if they could cut down on their drugs were able to eliminate at least one.
If a drug is necessary, ask how much it will cost. A more recent CR survey found that most doctors don’t regularly talk about drug cost with patients. So you might need to take the lead.
When you do, ask whether a less costly drug might work as well. For example, generic drugs have the same active ingredients as brand name ones, they’re regulated in the same way by the Food and Drug Administration, and they cost 80 to 85 percent less.
Look into 90-day prescriptions for medication to treat chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. That reduces how often you need to cover co-pays. Or you could skip insurance altogether. That’s because paying cash for a 90-day supply could be cheaper than three co-pays, says Victor Cutis, R. Ph., senior vice president of pharmacy for Costco, consistently one of the lowest-priced, CR’s secret shoppers found.
On the following pages we describe ways to address six common and particularly vexing situations involving high drug costs. They sometimes call for tricks that might seem counterintuitive at first but have been found to work.
While these workarounds offer quick fixes, they aren’t long-term solutions to the underlying problems. That’s why we also suggest meaningful systemic reforms government, industry, and employers should make right now to fix the flaws that cause high drug costs.
Meanwhile neighborhood churches can do a lot to educate it’s elderly members about their drug costs savings.
Even with the tips outlined in the following pages, high drug costs are sometimes inevitable. But we’ve identified many common situations when these strategies are worth trying. And you might be surprised by how effective they can be. Then start your personal movement to liberate members of family first, spread out in your neighborhood, your help is needed.