Today given the myriad of health conditions that many adults face in America, it isn’t uncommon for people to be on high cholesterol, diabetes, and arthritis medication, amongst others. In fact, it isn’t unusual for many people to be taking four to five different prescription drugs each day. People admitted to the hospital can be taking a dozen drugs a day, if not more, but is all of that necessary? Even if you could afford to take all those drugs and juggle all those medicines, is it even beneficial?
Well, let us start by saying that not taking the medications prescribed can lead to a laundry list of serious issues later on. It may lead to various complications that are related to the medical condition. Furthermore, you could experience a heart attack or even a stroke, none of which is pleasant or to be taken lightly. Plus, attempting to save a few hundred dollars a month on prescription medication could land you in the hospital, where you pay far more per night in intensive care.
We are not surprised when people ask what will happen if they stop taking the drugs they were prescribed for a month to save money. In fact, it’s bound to be asked because these drugs are so expensive. Filling a prescription for a diabetic is easily a few hundred dollars a month. Even if you have health insurance that covers prescription drug purchases, those co-payments alone can ruin your finances.
The FDA approves new medication each year, and very few, if any, are taken off the market. However, the prices of all new drugs are very high, and they don’t fall much if they ever do, it’s only when they are available as generics, which is many years later, that you can fill a prescription for maybe half the price.
Is It Possible to Cut Medicine Costs Safely?
Now, if you are having a tough time affording all those medications, you need to ask a few very important questions.
Which of these are the most essential? If you have medicine prescribed from a different doctor, then visit your primary care physician. Try to get them to explain which one of these drugs is best for your condition and improves the quality of life while keeping you out of the hospital and which of these you can easily discontinue or take sparingly.
Which of these medicines can I stop with no to low risk? Your doctor may not be able to give you a straight answer here because there isn’t one in most situations. So, that’s where doing a bit of your own research may come in combined with what the doctor tells you.
Is it possible to make lifestyle changes that may then lead to the discontinuation of any of these medicines? Now for conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, a few lifestyle changes like maybe visiting the gym a few times a week and eating a healthy diet can help eliminate some of the drugs you need to take.
A few Other Ways to Save Money on Prescription Medication
Now, in addition to asking your doctor those questions, there are a few other ways to save money on your prescription medication.
If the doctor has given you a prescription drug plan, ask them to prescribe drugs termed as “preferred” since they are far cheaper.
Buy the generic version of the drug(s) you’ve been prescribed. Usually, there is one, and that should save you some money.
Now, if there isn’t a generic version available, there is always a cheaper brand. Maybe ask your doctor or the pharmacist to prescribe a less-expensive brand name of the same medication.
You might also want to ask your doctor about pill-splitting. Often there is little to no cost difference between low-dose and high-dose versions of the same medicine. That means all you need is a $5 pill-splitter, and just buy a higher dose to split it in two to save money. You can roughly save around 35% of the cost.
You might also want to shop around. Prescription medications don’t cost the same everywhere. Some drug stores are far cheaper than others. So, it might be worth going for a drive around the city to find the cheapest spot to fill your prescription.
Finally – Do Your Research
You shouldn’t just get off your medication for an entire month. Not only is it dangerous, but you’re also opening yourself up to more expensive interventions if something goes wrong. That’s why speaking to a doctor and do your research before attempting it.