Friday, April 11, 2008

Here are some items I've come across that can help those
of us who are taking medication...

Cut Your Costs in Half by Using a Pill Splitter.

Most pharmacies should stock pill splitters. Sometimes, medications can be broken in half and save you 50%. The reason is because several pharmaceutical manufacturers price some of their medications the same for all strengths, i.e. Lipitor is essentially the same price for all strengths. It is possible to save as much as $100 on a one month supply of Lipitor just by getting the larger strength and cutting in half. Ask your pharmacist.
This method may not be appropriate for all medications and could be dangerous if used with the wrong medication. Begin by asking your doctor or pharmacist if your medication is available in a dose double your normal dosage (if you usually take a 20 mg. pill, is a 40 mg. pill available?). If it is, ask whether there would be any problems with splitting the tablets or capsules. Now, do a cost comparison between the two dosages. If the higher dose is less than double the cost for your regular dose then you will be saving money by having your doctor prescribe the higher dose and then splitting it. Cost savings is typically 32% to 50%. Check with your pharmacist to see if your pills can be easily split.

Save by Buying a 90 vs. 30-Day Supply.

Most pharmacies have higher savings on a longer days supply. In addition, when it comes to people who have insurance prescription coverage, there may be other savings by getting a larger day supply. For instance, if you have a $10 co-pay, the insurance company will let you get only a 30 days supply in general for that $10. A 90-day supply bought without insurance may only cost you $18. This would be much cheaper than paying $10 per month ($30 for 90 days). It would also save you two trips to the pharmacy.

Get Only a 7-day Supply of New Medication.

If the doctor does not have samples, ask your pharmacist to give you only a one-week supply to try. It is a federal law that medicines can't be returned once they are dispensed. If you get a month's supply and can't tolerate the medicine, you have just lost that money.


Ask Your Doctor for Samples at Every Visit.

Cross the Border.

If you live close to either Canada or Mexico, you can buy some medications in either country for 75% off the U.S. price.

Senior Discount Card Programs.

GlaxoSmithKline's The Orange Card (888) 672-6436. Covers all GSK's drugs. Must have an annual income below $30,000 per individual or $40,000 per couple. 30% average savings at participating pharmacies.

Eli Lilly's LillyAnswers Card (877) 795-4559. Covers all Lilly drugs except controlled substances. Must have an annual income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple. $12 co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.

Novartis' CareCard call (866) 974-2273. Covers select Novartis drugs. Tier 1 must have an annual income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple. $12 Co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply. Tier 2 must have an annual income below $26,000 per individual or $35,000 per couple. Receive a 25% or more discount.

Pfizer's The Share Card call (800) 717-6005. Covers all Pfizer's drugs. Must have an annual income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple. $15 co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.

Together Rx Card (800) 865-7211. Over 150 select drugs from a group of manufacturers. Must have an annual income below $28,000 per individual or $38,000 per couple. Savings of approximately 20-40% off the amount you usually pay for prescriptions and, in many cases, substantially more.

Dave