May 15th, 2009
04:20 PM ET

How to save on prescription drugs

There’s no denying that prescription drug costs are in the stratosphere. Combine that with an economy that is in the cellar, and it is no surprise that a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found almost 30 percent of adults say they’ve opted not to fill a prescription because of cost. About a quarter of people polled had split pills or skipped doses to make their medicine last longer.

Here are the resources Gerri Willis and Dr. Sanjay Gupta talked about on “House Call” this weekend. Thanks for watching.

Kmart pharmacies www.kmart.com

Costco www.costco.com

Sam’s Club www.samsclub.com

BJ’s Pharmacies www.bjs.com





One word of caution here, beware of fly-by-night sites, where your risk of getting counterfeit or tainted drugs rises. Look for sites that carry the "VIPPS" seal (it stands for verified internet pharmacy practice site, and is awarded by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy).

Also, consider getting a drug discount card. They are available from state government, membership associations, non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses. You may be able to save from 15 to 50 percent on certain medicines. The cards may have annual fees that range from $30 to $60 per family or up to $9 dollars a month.

Pharmacy assistance programs can also help. They are generally run by drug companies. Keep in mind there may be income requirements.






For more information of Pfizer’s program, called Pfizer Pfriends, call 1-866-776-3700.

And finally, read the Empowered Patient for more tips on how to save big bucks at the pharmacy counter.

Filed under: Health Care Costs

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soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. judypudy

    When i went to walgreens to get a presrciption filled for an antibiotic that cost $127.00 they gave me a discount thur the United Way fund so it only cost $69.00. Ask for a discount if you dont have insurance. They will help you out.

    May 16, 2009 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sandra Drescher

    I am retired, have health insurance, a prescription card and still cannot afford my prescriptions. My prescription cost have doubled this year but my retirement is still the same. It seems there are no programs to assist people like me.

    The drug companies and insurance companies have brought Universal Health Care by the government on themselves. Shame on them!!

    May 19, 2009 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Isabelle

    Today, all pharmacies offer a discount, if you ask. Rather than Pharmacy hop, find one store and stick with it. Possible interactions between various prescription meds,combined with vitamin, herbal, and over-the-counter supplements, need to be monitored carefully for adverse side effects. Establish open lines of communication with your pharmacist. If unavailable, you probably have the wrong store.

    May 25, 2009 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Brandon

    I work in a pharmacy. Most pharmacies have a list of around 400 basic generics that are 4$ for 30 day supply, some free anti-biotics. If you're taking a brand name, always look on the manufacture's website for a coupon- this can even be split billed with your insurance.

    May 29, 2009 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Robert Ogle

    I suffered a near fatal heart attack earlier this year. I do have insurance and a RX plan. I was paying a co-pay of 40dollars for my plavix and when I went to renew the perscription, I was told the total was over 100 dollars because this is the third refill and the medication is not available in generic. How can these companies charge so much for insurance and perscriptions and justify this type of action? I am on a pension and fixed income and I cannot afford this type of charge, plus I need to be taking these meds from my cardiologist.

    June 17, 2009 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. John Henry Seale

    Don't pay for a discount card. They are free and the distributors get paid based upon utilization. In most cases, these cards are similar unless there is a copay attached to the program.

    September 16, 2009 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.