How to Find Cheap Medicine Options. In 2019, invoice-based medicine spending worldwide totaled more than $1.25 trillion. Experts believe this will exceed $1.5 trillion by 2024. Drug spending in the United States alone would account for more than a third of that projection.
The US is the top drug spender since medicines here are the most expensive in the world. For one, it doesn’t regulate or negotiate new prescription drug prices. As such, medicine makers can charge whatever they see fit.
Fortunately, there are still many ways to secure cheap medicine, even if you’re in the US. We rounded up some of the best ways to access low-cost and discount prescription drugs, so be sure to read on!
Buy Prescription Medications Online
According to researchers, there are about 30,000 to 35,000 online pharmacies today. As these pharmacies operate mostly online, they have lower overhead expenses. The centralized, web-based order-processing system these e-pharmacies use is also more efficient.
Those lower operational costs allow online pharmacies to reduce their product prices. You can find prescription drugs online that cost only a fraction of those sold in offline stores.
However, do note that about 67% to 75% of e-pharmacies are illegal online pharmacies (IOPs). Many IOPs don’t require valid written prescriptions for prescription drugs. Many of them also accept expired prescriptions, which is still illegal.
So, before you buy cheap prescription drugs online, look at the website’s requirements. Legal online pharmacies (LOPs) always require valid prescriptions from all their customers. LOPs also carry licenses issued by your country’s pharmacy regulatory board.
Moreover, LOPs have a licensed pharmacist that you should be able to talk to any time you call them. The online pharmacy must also publish the name and license number of the pharmacist. You can verify the pharmacist’s licensure with your pharmacy regulatory board, too.
Be sure the online pharmacy shows its registered business address on its website. You can then run the complete address on a location tool, such as Google Maps. Check the actual photos to see what the store’s office building looks like.
Generic medications can cost 80% to 85% less than their branded counterparts. Thanks to these generic drugs, the US healthcare system saved almost $2.2 trillion from 2002 to 2019.
All that makes generic drugs some of the most bargain prescription drugs out there. They cost far less as their makers don’t have to do the same studies that a manufacturer of a new branded drug has to. Instead, generic drug makers base their products on the existing branded drugs’ formula.
Many over-the-counter drugs also have generic options, so be sure to check them, too. These include pain relievers, such as acetaminophen for Tylenol or naproxen for Aleve. There are also generic OTC antifungal, anti-itch, and cough and cold drugs, among others.
Generic medicines still need approval from the authorities, though. In the US, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is the agency that approves generic drugs. The FDA carries out stringent reviews before it approves these low-cost medicines.
In Canada, there’s the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) and Health Canada. These two work hand in hand to test and approve generic meds in the Great White North.
Look For Patient Assistance Programs
Many prescription drug makers offer patient assistance programs (PAPs). They market PAPS for underinsured patients or those without health insurance. Patients who qualify for these programs can get low-cost prescription drugs or even at no cost at all.
Since drugs covered by PAPs cost little to none at all, you can expect them to have strict requirements. These programs have varying eligibility criteria, but most require low-income levels. Patients must also prove that they have no health insurance or have too little coverage.
It’s a good idea to apply for PAPs, but before you use them, be sure you still compare drug prices. This is especially crucial if you only get approved for a lower price. Even with a PAP’s discount, online offers and generic drugs may still cost less.
Don’t Forget To Use Coupons
Discount coupons are supposedly available for over 50,000 medicines in the US. Many of these are for prescription drugs, although some are also for generic meds. Either way, these coupons can help you further lower your medication spending.
Discount coupons are available for both online and offline drug purchases. Like PAPs, though, they also have varying requirements and limitations.
For example, many coupons are for specific drugs, while others require you to buy a certain amount. Others are for free shipping or are only given to first-time buyers. You’ll also find a few that you can’t use for insured medications or are already offered at a discounted rate.
The bottom line is that discounts are widely available, so make sure you scour the net before you buy your meds.
Ask About Discount Cards
Both drug makers and pharmacies offer discount cards that work like coupons. Those from pharmaceutical makers only apply to their products, though. The cards that come from pharmacies usually apply to several products they carry.
Some pharmacies also offer a point-based reward system. These work much like other rewards cards, in which a certain amount converts into one point. One point, in turn, can be equivalent to $1, so once you have enough points, you can use that to get a discount on your next order.
Follow These Tips To Find Quality Yet Cheap Medicine Options
As you can see, there are many places wherein you can find cheap medicine offers. Start with online pharmacies, but be sure to do your homework to find out if they’re legitimate. Don’t forget that you have generic options, too, as well as discount coupons and cards.
All in all, the more of our tips you follow, the lower your drug spending can get. This, in turn, can help you better adhere to your doctor’s prescription instructions.
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