Generic drugs are chemically identical to brand-name drugs. That means a generic drug has the same ingredients, dosage, quality, and method of use as a brand name. Generics also have to meet the same quality and safety requirements with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as all other drugs.
The main benefit of using generic drugs is that they are usually much cheaper. In some cases, as much as 90% cheaper, which means you can pay less than $5 for a full prescription fill for certain common drugs.
Not all brand-name drugs have generic versions, particularly newer ones. According to the FDA, nearly 80% of approved drugs have generic versions on the market. These versions are widely available at most drugstores, pharmacies, and retailers with in-store pharmacies or health clinics including Fred Meyer, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and others.
Ask About Generic Options and Other Discounts
Ask your pharmacist about generic versions of your prescriptions, or speak with your doctor about ways to lower the costs of your medications. Also, find out if there is a generic version of a brand-name drug by visiting the FDA’s official listing of approved drug products.
It also helps to compare prices at various retailers so you can negotiate. You may be surprised how much prices can vary for the same drug. For example, if you take several medications and buy them all at one place, however, one of the drugs is cheaper at another retailer, mention this to the pharmacist. They may be willing to offer you a discount or match a competitor’s lower to keep you as a customer. Today, as drug prices continue to rise, such negotiating is becoming more common.
Join Loyalty Programs to Save More
To save even more money, consider joining loyalty or membership programs at the stores you visit most often. These programs involve more than groceries, and most offer discounts on prescriptions and services such as immunizations at in-store health clinics. Check with individual stores to find out if prescription drugs included in their loyalty programs. In most cases, they are.
Patient Assistance Programs
Many pharmaceutical companies run patient assistance programs to offer reduced or even free prescription drugs to those who cannot afford the medicine they need. More information is found at the Partnership for Prescription Assistance and the Patient Assistance Program Center.
Remember to take the time to compare generic prescription drugs and discounts. Talk with your primary doctor about your options too.
Before you go, print or load the latest health and drug coupons to a store loyalty program.