7OYS reveals tips on how to save money on prescription drugs

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney shares tips on how you can save a lot of money on prescription drugs.
December 2, 2013 7:42:08 PM PST
Saving money on your prescription drugs might not be as difficult as you've been led to believe.

There are ways you can save money. I'm not talking about nickels and dimes or a couple of dollars. I'm talking about cutting the cost of your drugs in half, sometimes much more than that.

What's the secret? It's been right in front of you all this time.

Medications are expensive. We all know that or are they?

Dave Belk, MD is a patient advocate and says we have been misled.

"More often than not people are paying more for their medication than they need to by using insurance," he said.

Belk has a website called, TrueCostofHealthcare.org, devoted to medical costs and his belief that most of us are overpaying.

He says medications that are still under patent can cost $50 a pill and more, but most of us don't take those pills.

Belk says we take generics and those can cost as little as a dime each. So a month's supply costs $3 while your copay is $10.

"The cash price for the medication is less than your insurance copay. Your insurance is not giving you a deal on that medication," he said.

Belk says it is a secret that most patients need to get in on.

"Well, I'm on five different medications for the blood pressure, cholesterol and things like that," retired steel worker Roland Brightman said.

Brightman has quit using his insurance when buying many of his prescriptions.

"Having the insurance helped but it was always so much higher. So, now by not using it is actually more reasonable, it is much cheaper actually," he said.

So, how does he do it? And how can you?

Sign up for one or more of the discount drug programs offered by the big retailers of medications.

Walmart, Costco, Safeway, CVS and Rite Aid all offer discount programs.

Brightman says he used to pay more than $150 a year on medications.

Michael Finney: So you are only spending $91 a year now?

"Right now I am, that's right," Brightman said

Michael Finney: That is amazing.

"I know that, I know that. It is a great thing," Brightman said.

Michael Finney: Do you tell your friends about this?

"I've told a few. I have told a few," Brightman said.

Here is one more tip: Buy in bulk. Belk says have your physician write a prescription for a year's worth of your generic medication. Often it costs only a smidgen more than buying a single month's worth.

"There is no need for you to have to go and pick up a medication every single month that you have been on for the past five years and the dose hasn't changed. And it's a lot cheaper not to," Belk said.

Drug Store Discount Drug Programs

Costco: Costco Member Prescription Program Walmart

Target: The Target? Pharmacy Rewards Program

Walgreens: Prescriptions Savings Club

Rite-Aid: Rx Savings Program

CVS: Pharmacy Health Savings Pass

Safeway: Pharmacy Discount Prescription Card


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