October 18, 2003
You can add to your savings while you wait for the federal government to lower prices
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Check out discount programs offered by the pharmaceutical companies. Many pharmaceutical companies offer discount or free drug programs for older adults. At www.benefitscheckup.org, a site run by the National Council on Aging, you can easily find out if you qualify for more than 260 such programs. You may need help filling out the paperwork for these programs. Several drug companies have consolidated their application forms, but most have different forms and different rules, and the rules may change at any time. If you need help, contact your local senior center.
Split pills in half. You can save big if your doctor feels comfortable prescribing a double dose in tablet form. When you break the pill in half, you get the correct dose. A DestinationRX.com search shows that 30 tablets of 50 milligram Zoloft cost $71, and 30 tablets of 100 milligram Zoloft cost $71. You can find a "How to split a pill" guide in the Harvard Heart Letter referenced above.
Buy in bulk: Usually, the more pills you buy, the more you save. A DestinationRx.com search shows that 30 80 milligram tablets of Lipitor cost $3.14 a tablet. Ninety 80 milligram tablets of Lipitor cost $3 a tablet. Canadian bulk savings tend to be more.
Buy from Canada. FDA rules contain a controversial exemption for individual use. The FDA has never prosecuted an individual, but FDA officials discourage people from using the exemption. More information at unitedhealthalliance.org
Join a group. Some organizations, like AARP, offer you prescription drug savings.
Exercise and do other things that reduce your need for drugs. Shift to a healthier lifestyle. Lose weight, eat a healthier diet, exercise. If you need help, join a group like the YMCA or YWCA or join forces with a friend.
— Kate Long