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Prescription Medications

How to save money on prescription medication

One of the more costly things the common person will come across regularly is prescription medicine. It is inevitable and unavoidable and a stressful thing for most people to have to deal with. However, there are ways to get these medicines cheaper or subsidized.

For one, opting out of name-brand drugs cuts the cost significantly. Most medicines have a generic equivalent, sharing the exact chemical makeup as their branded counterparts. Depending on the country of development and manufacture, the patent on a medicine varies, usually less than 10 years. After this time, other drug manufacturers are allowed to develop the same thing at a lesser cost. It is cheaper because the exclusivity is lost, and therefore the mark-up is reduced. Generic drugs are safe for the most part because of intense regulations imposed by the FDA, making sure chemical structures are exact.

Also buying medications online is much cheaper than at physical pharmacies because of the bulk these providers buy in from the manufacturer. It is best to make sure the website is accredited by one of several governing bodies:

This website rates numerous online pharmacies from the U.S., Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia and the U.K Their verification program is a required license for Google, Yahoo! ads, as well as Microsoft adCentre. The pharmacy must demand the original prescription and have significant privacy and security features on its site to get this mark of approval.

This site has a similar validity check in place for its vendors: requiring proper pharmaceutical licensing; allowing only licensed pharmacists to handle the filling of prescriptions; ensuring that over-the-counter drugs are not sold to states where they are considered controlled substances without a prescription; and making sure all deliveries and purchases are shipped through the U.S. Postal Service or another parcel service that requires a signature upon delivery.

The site operated by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy hosts the VIPPS program (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites). This program is similar to the two listed above, demanding the vendor give useable and adequate feedback with the patient about the drug they order, as well as providing recall and disposal instructions.

International sites or stores cut a lot of costs as well. While there are limitations on what drugs can be brought into the country, it is still a viable option for procuring medication. A 90-day supply of an FDA-approved drug is allowed to be carried by a person into the U.S., as long as proper documentation is provided (i.e. proof of citizenship and identification, original prescription and original packaging of the drug).

The cost of drugs can also be partly covered by a health insurance plan. If you are older than 65 or have a disability and qualify, Medicare will help subsidize the cost of drugs. For those with numerous and chronic drug needs, there are extra coverage options you can apply for.

Many life insurance companies have arrangements with pharmacies that offer discounts on prescriptions. Keep these arrangements in mind when shopping for insurance policies.

For a nominal fee of $72 per annum, Aetna customers can expect savings of 10 to 40 percent. The plan is hooked up with CVS and Right Aide, so there are more than 43,000 participating pharmacy locations. This is a great idea if you or your family has constant prescription needs, because after approximately six or seven refills, the savings alone pay for the cost of the plan.

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