With increasing inflation and healthcare expenses, saving money on common prescription drugs is on the list of many patients. High prescription drug costs are a persistent problem in the United States. As drugs prices continue to rise, it is becoming difficult for people to afford medical expenses altogether, many people are choosing not to pick up the prescriptions they need and even avoid visiting the doctor when necessary.
According to a report published by Kaiser Family Foundation in 2016, about one-quarter of a people in the United States are having difficulty in affording their prescription medications. For people struggling to make ends meet, the cost of prescription drugs has already reached its tipping point.
Reason Behind High Prescription Drug Costs in America:
One leading driver of high prescription drug costs is inadequate competition in the pharmaceutical industry. High startup costs with extensive government approval requirements are all factors that contribute to high drug prices. Brand name drugs are more expensive because they are also paying to extend patent protection. Government agencies should provide more information on drug’s value to patients and physicians so they can choose the drug that provides more clinical benefit for the money. Pharmacists should also be given some liberty to let the patients know about any substitute medication that is chemically similar and just as effective but less expensive when compared to their prescribed medications.
To help you with high prescription drug costs, we came up with the following solutions that can help you curb your spending on medical pills. We cannot control the rate at which drug prices are increasing, but we are always on a lookout for ways that can help people in saving money on even the most common prescription drugs.
Before we give you the money saving tips, let’s have a look at some of the most popular and common prescription drugs that are frequently filled in pharmacies across the United States.
8 Common Prescription Drugs in the United States
Vicodin is an inexpensive and popular drug that is used to relieve moderate to severe pain caused by a variety of causes. Common side effects may include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, bleeding gums, blood in the urine or stool and lower back or side pain.
2. Motrin (ibuprofen)
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing hormones causing inflammation. It is used to treat fever and reduce pain. Ibuprofen is a generic medication that is available over the counter while stronger doses are available through a prescription. Advil and Motrin B are available over-the-counter and should only be used when needed.
3. Lipitor (atorvastatin)
Lipitor is used to treat high cholesterol. Before the release of its generic alternative atorvastatin in 2011, it was considered the top drug by sales. It is still the most commonly prescribed statin.
4. Prinivil, Zestril (lisinopril)
5. Amoxil (amoxicillin)
Amoxicillin is one of the most common prescription drugs that has been around since the 1970’s. It is a penicillin-type antibiotic that is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections including pneumonia and bronchitis.
Levothyroxine is used to treat hypothyroidism and is also used to treat or prevent goiter. You will find many brands and generic choices of levothyroxine, but they cannot be interchanged.
7. Sertraline (Zoloft)
Sertraline (Zoloft) is a common antidepressant used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety. Insurance companies no longer cover Zoloft brand as of 2018, but the generic Sertraline is still covered by most companies. You have to check with yours.
8. Neurontin (gabapentin)
Gabapentin is used to prevent and control seizures. It is also used to relieve nerve pain following shingles in adults. Some states now consider it as a controlled substance because of its few properties.
Ways to Save Money on Most Common Prescription Drugs
Following are some great tips you can use to score the lowest possible price on all your prescription drugs:
1. Do Comparison Shopping
A survey was conducted in Los Angeles County’s highest and lowest-income ZIP codes by USC researchers. They found out that the drug prices were lowest at independent pharmacies and when using online coupons.
Let’s look at an example:
Lipitor is available for as low as $4 in low-income areas of Los Angeles. In high-income areas, the lowest price for Lipitor is $7.
Do you see the difference? That is the reason we always advise our readers to do comparison shopping even when buying common prescription drugs. There are many resources online, including Discount Drug Network’s helpful pricing tool. All you need to do is enter the name of the drug and the ZIP code you live in, it will provide prices from various pharmacies nearby. Be an informed shopper and save money!
2. Take a Volume Discount
Buying in bulk is both convenient and cost-effective. People who take prescriptions for long-term conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or depression can save money by purchasing a 90-day supply instead of a single month.
A 30 day supply of Sertraline, an antidepressant cost you around $9, but if you switch to a 90-day supply, it will cost you around $18 for three months. You just saved $9 right there!
3. Pill Splitting
This is one of the most popular ways to save money on common prescription drugs. If you are on levothyroxine, you can save up to 50% each month by splitting a higher dosage of this drug.
The price for 30 pills of levothyroxine 50mcg is $4, and the price for 30 pills of levothyroxine 100mcg is also $4. If you buy a higher dose pill and split it in half, you will make your prescription last twice as long and also save a lot of money doing it.
Please keep in mind that splitting pills can be dangerous, so make sure you talk to your doctor and find out which pills are safe to cut. Also, always use a pill cutter (you can get them for $5 at most pharmacies) and read this pill splitting guide by WebMD before you start doing it on your own.
4. Use a Prescription Discount Card to Save on Common Prescription Drugs
The coupons you get from drug manufacturers are often redeemable for only pricey brand-name drugs, and they only last for a certain number of refills. Whereas with Discount Drug Network card you can save money on common prescription drugs, specialty drugs, let alone any drug that is approved by the FDA, not just the brand names!
Studies show that our card users save an average of 47% on generic brands. This is a significant amount of savings. Last but not the least, our card is absolutely free! Get your free prescription discount card now and start saving.
6. Talk with Your Doctor
One of the easiest ways to save money on common prescription drugs is by talking with your doctor. Sometimes doctors may also carry drugs samples from pharma reps. You can ask them to provide you some if they have any. You can also ask them to write an alternative low-cost medicine if the one prescribed to you is not affordable. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to discuss this stuff with your doctor. It’s your medical right.