Shopping strategies that could help you reduce the cost of medications

Picture of pharmacist for article about the cost of medications

Cost is a common reason that some patients do not take their medicine as directed. Here are some shopping strategies that may help make your medicines more affordable.

Talk to your doctor. Your healthcare provider may not know how much you’re paying for the drugs he or she prescribes. Talk with your doctor, so he or she can consider less expensive options. It also helps to review all your medications with your healthcare provider from time to time. If you’ve been taking a drug for a long time, it’s possible you no longer need it or could switch to something cheaper. If you’re taking a 20-mg pill twice a day, for example, ask your doctor whether it would be safe to switch to a 40-mg pill once a day.

Compare pharmacies. Check your benefits and compare prices at pharmacies in your supermarket, retail stores, online, and via mail order. You can find discounts for ordering a 30- or 90-day supply of medication. This strategy could save you hundreds of dollars per year. If you shop online, look for online pharmacies with the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® seal. You can verify an online pharmacy at

If you need more than one medication, make a list of all your medicines and their doses and find out the total cost for your entire list at a variety of pharmacies and websites. Then, get them all from the place that gives you the best deal. Plus, it is important that all your drugs come from the same pharmacy, so the pharmacist there has all of your information and can advise you if one of your medications will interfere with another.

Know your options. If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, your insurer may provide support for you to take your medications, visit your doctor, and have regular tests.

Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources may qualify for Extra Help to pay for the costs — monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments — related to a Medicare prescription drug plan.

Patient assistance programs can help people with low incomes pay for medicines. Visit for more information.

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