How to Save on Prescription Drugs

Posted by Adrienne on January 22, 2013

Do you have a prescription drug that you take regularly? Even with insurance these regular expenses can add up. Most of us take a prescription at least occasionally. Here are some tips on how to save on this expense.

Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs

  • Pill Splitting
    If you take a 20mg pill every day could you split a 40mg pill? This is a question to ask your doctor as not all pills can be split (or even come in the size you’re looking for). If they do though the cost savings is obvious. You basically can cut your costs in half by taking the time to cut your pills. Some pills can be easily split with the knife but there are even “pill splitters” made to specifically help with this task.
  • Mail Order
    Many prescriptions are considerably less expensive if you by them by mail. I’m not talking about some internet ad that pops up on your screen. Most health plans offer a mail order service. You can order 3 months of your prescription through them at a lower rate than you’d pay buying 1 month at a time. This only makes sense of course if you know you’re going to be using the prescription for at least 3 months. Not only does this save you money but also 3 trips to go pick-up your prescription. You can use this service even if you have a prescription that requires special care (like refrigeration) – they will send the medicine in cold packs.
  • Generics
    Some doctors automatically prescribe name brands so make sure to ask them if there is a generic equivalent. Once generics can be produced the cost comes way down. There might not have been any on the market when you started taking your medication so make sure check to if things have changed.
  • Alternatives
    Sometimes there are multiple drug options for your condition but your insurance covers some much better than others. Call your insurance company to ask about “preferred” drugs and then talk to your doctor about any alternatives you may have.
  • Doctor’s Samples
    If your doctor is prescribing a new drug make sure to ask if they have any samples. Manufacturers often give out samples to doctors to encourage them to choose their product. Sometimes the “sample” is big enough to keep you from having to fill the prescription at all.
  • Coupons
    Another thing that gets given to doctors is coupons from certain drugs. Make sure to ask about those. Even if your doctor doesn’t have any there may be some available from the drug maker. Be sure to check out their website for any coupons or other promotions.
  • Discount Plans
    If you do not have insurance that covers prescriptions you may be able to save money with a pharmacy discount card. Look around at the pharmacies in your area and compare what their plans offer in the way of discounts for the prescriptions that you have. Depending on the prescriptions and the pharmacy’s plan this can add up to big savings.

How do you save on prescription drugs?

More Ways to Save on Healthcare

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Comments to How to Save on Prescription Drugs

  1. Don’t assume mail in saves money. Take the time and use the site for your pills. I have(had)Medco that is now Express. For example, Nexium 20 mg once a day is $1.24. Take the same pill 8 times a days and the price is 24 cents a pill. What is the difference in price? The bottle? No doctor will prescribe that many pills, but it gives you an idea of how crazy it is. It is what the traffic will bare. There are sister drugs to Nexium that are effective, so talk to your doctor. My Nexium was $70 a month and the sister drug is $7. I don’t use mail in because the savings is not there. Between the two of us, we use 18 different pills. Walgreens will match most any price. Walgreens even fakes it by pulling out a sheet from under the counter and pretending to read it. Mailing is expensive and they want a 2 week window. Plus, if you are on vacation……???? Businesses are so busy these days, they often do not get things right and the drugs are in your home post office and not sent to your vacation address. I just refuse to reschedule the paper, drugs, mail and so forth. It just does not work. I have someone grab my mail and re-mail it. Cynical? It is from experience. If it falls out of the loop, it is lost.


  2. Don’t ask your doctor if it is safe to split a tablet. Ask your pharmacist. Doctors don’t know this sort of thing and they don’t know the price of drugs.

    Ask your doctor if there are any older drugs that he could prescribe that are in the same class as the newest and most exciting that the drug rep is pushing.

    Combination drugs are more expensive than taking two seperate medications. Ask you pharmacist to contact your doctor.

    Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle

  3. Great article.

    Only thing that I would challenge is the mail order.

    I used to think that you can always save with 90 day supplies by mail, but I used the Price and Save application at Catamaran (formerly Catalyst), to pull up pricing for my scripts at all of the local pharmacies, as well as their mail order price.

    I was VERY surprised to find that I could buy each and every one of them locally, for less money than the mail order option.

    Another core belief shattered………..but for the better !


  4. I buy generic and use a discount drug card that I get from It saves me over $70 a month. They also have drug coupons. I have split pills before and you should definitely comparison shop- you would be amazed how much the same medicine varies from pharmacy to pharmacy.


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