Saving Money - Prescription Drugs

Regardless of your income, for most people saving money is great thing, if not a necessity. Throughout the month of May, Joey Parker will be showing you different ways to save at least $120 a month, and in some cases, a whole lot more!

Since it's a place we all must visit at one time or another, Joey begins our look at saving you money by reminding you how you can save money at your local drug store. The pills may be small but the bill usually is not! Whether you're insured or uninsured, a trip to the drug store can be quite costly. But, it doesn't have to be.

Frank McCoy is the son of a pharmacist, and has been one himself for 18 years. In that time he's learned a few things about shaving the cost off of his patient's bills.

Franks says buying in volume is one way to cut costs. "If you can pay for 30, it would cost you less than if you pay for 5. You're paying the same dispensing fee whether we're counting out 30 or 15."

And, just why are prescription drugs so expensive? Most people know that price includes research, development and advertising, but the approval process of the food and drug administration adds on to the overall price.

Three years ago, only 3 out of 13 drugs developed ever even hit the market. So, they have to pay for the ones that hit the market, plus the ones that never hit the market plus, future research and development. The drug makers only have a limited amount of time to recoup their investments before the law allows other companies to make the exact same drug - in a generic form.

That generic form is another way to save - big time. And, you can't tell the difference unless you take a magnifying glass and looked at the inscription on the tablet. But you don't need a magnifying glass to see the savings of name brand vs. Generic.

We'll use the popular anti-depressant drug Zanax as an example. A half milligram of Zanax will cost a patient $233.99 for 180 pills. Ask for the generic version, Alprazolam and, you'll get the exact same medicine - and quantity - for just $54.98. In some cases the generic is made by the exact same drug company! Your savings? about $180.

But, let's save even more! Ask your physician to double your prescribed dosage, then buy half as many pills. So, this figure is based on 90, one milligram tablets. And, ask your pharmacist for the generic brand. Then cut the pill in half and, you're saving about $200!

Oh, and don't forget, you'll save time and fuel costs by not having to return to the drug store or the doctors office as much.

Be careful when you shop over the counter, too. Cold medicines, bandages, ointments, vitamins, and such are available in a less expensive store brand, and, they're often just as effective as the advertised brands.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask the pharmacist, unlike most doctors, their consultation is free. Frank says," Just come ask me or your friendly pharmacist." And, don't forget to ask your pharmacist about rebates. If they don't know for sure, check out the drug-maker's web site.