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Save Money on Your Meds

by Joseph Gustaitis

With prices going up on so many items these days, consumers need all the help they can get. That’s why it’s useful to know about programs that can help people save on prescription drugs.

One useful program is called Together Rx Access. It was launched in early 2005 by 10 pharmaceutical companies and gives participants immediate savings on their prescription medicines, right at the pharmacy counter. (Today the number of companies participating is much greater than 10.) Under the program, most participants save 25% to 40% on about 300 brand-name prescription drugs for such conditions as diabetes, asthma, depression, and high cholesterol. Those taking part in the program are issued a card to bring to the pharmacy when they pick up their prescriptions; the discount is immediately applied. Because Together Rx Access is designed to aid people who would otherwise have trouble affording their medicines, there are income limits. For example, a family of three must have a household income equal to or less than $50,000 to be eligible. The Together Rx Access card is accepted at most pharmacies in the United States and Puerto Rico. There are two ways to find out if you’re eligible: You can call (800) 966-0407, or you can log on to www.togetherrxaccess.com.

Another option worth exploring is the National Prescription Savings Card, which was launched in the spring of 2008. Now accepted at nearly 60,000 drugstores across the United States, the program’s administrators say that cardholders can save up to 20% off the retail price of most prescription drugs. Unlike the Together Rx Access card, there are no income requirements, and even people with insurance coverage can use the free card. You don’t even have to fill out an enrollment form. To sign up, call (866) 203-7208 or visit www.npsavings.com.

Finally, a lot of discount stores offer low-cost generic drugs. This now-widespread practice began in 2006, when K-Mart began offering a 30-day supply of certain generic prescription drugs for $5.00. Companies that have adopted similar programs since then include BJ’s Wholesale Club, Wal-Mart, King Soopers, City Market, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Target, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, and Wegmans. Some even offer free antibiotics. In the event that none of these companies offers a medicine you need at a price you can afford, many individual drug companies have assistance plans (these usually require the involvement of your doctor).

If you want to save money on your medicines, all of these options are worth exploring. However, it’s usually best to get all of your medicines at one pharmacy so that there is a central record of what you’re taking. This lets the pharmacist check for drug interactions, and in an emergency situation it will be easier to replace your medicines. These are advantages you won’t have if you get your medicines from different sources.



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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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