TEXAS, USA — The price of brand name prescription drugs often grows at double the rate of inflation. AARP’s Rx Price Watch report found the retail prices for 260 widely used brand name prescription drugs grew by 2.9 percent in 2020. The inflation rate was 1.3 percent during the same time. That means many Americans struggle to afford the medication they need to live.
Americans on medication often have to pick between necessities. The AARP study showed older Americans regularly take about five prescriptions, costing about $31,000 a year.
“Which is actually greater than the media annual income for people who are in Medicare,” said Leigh Purvis, AARP’s director of Health Care Costs and Access. “It really has an impact on people’s ability to pay for the prescription drugs they need. Sometimes they’re having to make choices between their prescription drugs and other important things like food or rent. We don’t think that’s a decision anyone should have to make.”
Lowering drug prices starts with your doctor. Ask for samples.
“Maybe they can give you some free samples and then write a lower prescription so you pay less,” said Andrea Woroch, a smart shopping expert. “They might be able to offset the prescription costs, especially if it’s not an ongoing prescription.”
See if there is a generic available. If not, check if your doctor can do this with your medication:
“Ask your doctor if they can double the dose of the pills and then you can split those pills. Sometimes you pay less when you’re getting fewer pills,” said Woroch.
Next, see if the drug manufacturer offers discounts.
“A lot of them have programs that give you access to their products at a much lower price or even for free if you meet their eligibility criteria,” said Purvis.
Shop around for the pharmacy offering the best price using GoodRX.com.
“It’s basically a price comparison site to help you find the best price of your necessary prescription at various pharmacies in your area,” said Woroch. “There really isn’t any kind of control on the price of prescriptions and they vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.”
Get the free Optum RX card.
“It allows you to save on FDA approved meds at 66,000 pharmacies around the country,” said Trae Bodge, a smart saving expert of TrueTrae.
Also try your local warehouse club.
“By far, by any online price comparison that has been done, they have the best prices on prescriptions,” Woroch said. “The best part is, it is against federal law to prohibit anybody from accessing their pharmacy.”
No membership, no problem. Anyone can use a warehouse club’s pharmacy.
Medicare recipients can benefit from the Extra Help Program, which can help cover most out-of-pocket and premium costs.
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