Five tips for saving on prescription drugs

Original article http://www.benefitspro.com

By Kathryn Mayer

No two pharmacies are alike.

According to an analysis by Consumer Reports, prescription drugs vary widely in price depending on where you shop. Failing to comparison shop could result in overpaying by as much as $100 a month or even more, depending on the drug.

The consumer group says shoppers need to compare prices. Here are five other tips on how to save money on prescriptions, according to Consumer Reports.

Request the lowest price. Consumer Reports analysis reveals shoppers weren’t always given the best, lowest price. Make sure you ask.

Go generic. Generics are copies of brand-name medications whose patents have expired. The Food and Drug Administration requires generics contain the same active ingredients in the same strength as the brands they copy. In addition, a generic must be “bioequivalent” to its corresponding brand, meaning that it delivers the same amount of active ingredients into a person’s bloodstream in the same amount of time as the original brand.

Leave the city. Some grocery store and independent drugstores had higher prices in urban areas than rural areas, according to Consumer Reports. For example, CR shoppers priced a 30-day supply of generic Actos at a pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C., for $203, while another pharmacy in a rural area of the state sold it for just $37.

Get a refill for 90 days, not 30 days. Most pharmacies offer discounts on a three-month supply.

Look for additional discounts. All chain and big-box drugstores now offer discount generic-drug programs, with some selling hundreds of generic drugs for $4 a month or $10 for a three-month supply. Just make sure your drug is on the list. Offers vary and check the fine print.

 


Generic Cash

Generic drugs generated nearly $193 billion in savings to the U.S. health care system in 2011, according to a report by the General Pharmaceutical Association. The group noted that the figure likely will increase in coming years because a slew of high-price brand-name drugs, such as Lipitor and Zyprexa, had their patents expire recently.


LIVE BETTER, SPEND LESS

Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) can play a major role in persuading employees to adopt healthier lifestyles and save health care dollars, according to a new analysis by the Health Care Service Corp. The study found that CDHP enrollees were four times more likely to take advantage of preventive services and 10 percent more likely to fill their prescriptions with generics.