How to Get Free Prescription Drugs (or nearly free)

Are your prescription drug prices going through the roof? Do you wonder sometimes, even if you have great health insurance, whether you’re going to have to make a choice between eating well (or eating at all) and taking your medicine? Has your doctor prescribed a medicine for you that you just don’t think you can afford? Well, you are not alone.

Even in the younger set, prescription prices appear to be at an all-time high, and it doesn’t seem that there is any relief in sight. So here are some tips to help you find ways to reduce your prescription medicine costs. If one doesn’t work for you, maybe another one will. Keep going until you get some help!

Get free or nearly free prescription drugs

Did you know that doctors often aren’t aware of the cost of the medicines they prescribe?  Your first step when given a prescription slip, should be to ask the doctor for some samples. They get free samples all the time from visiting drug salespeople, so there should be at least a few to get you started. That way, if you discover that the medicine doesn’t work for you, or you have a bad reaction to it, you haven’t spent any money at that point, and you can move on to the next medication

Generic pharmacy programs

Surely by now you have heard of the low-cost generic prescriptions you can buy at discount stores like Walmart or Target – usually at a price somewhere around $4.00 per 30-day supply or $10 for 90 days’ worth. Be sure to pick up a brochure in the store where they detail the generic drugs that are available at those low prices, or go online to their prescription website to either search for your medication or download a complete, up-to-date list. From that list, you can talk to your doctor to see if any of the generics can be substituted for the pricey brand-name drug the doctor already set you up with.

Online discount and bid pharmacies

Another way to lower your costs is by using online pharmacies that are known to be reliable.  BidRx.com is an online pharmacy that will bid to reduce your prices for prescription drugs. There’s a short sign-up procedure to go through (when asked for a referrer, use “clark” as the name**) and an explanation of how the process works. You can enter the medication you are taking and get instant bids from competing pharmacies. You can choose the bid you prefer (shipping charges differ, so be sure to check those), and when you decide which price you prefer to take, you can Reserve the medication. If you don’t see a price you can live with, you can cancel the procedure and back out with no problems. After you confirm your prescription, there are several ways to get your doctor’s prescription and your payment to BidRx.com and your prescription will be on its way.

 TogetherRX Access Card

Another resource to check out if you need help with your medicines, check out TogetherRx Access Card, which offers a 25% to 40% discount on your prescription drugs. To be eligible, you must be under 65 and receive no prescription drug coverage from the government or an employer. There are some income limitations based on the number of people in your family, but you can get more detail and start the enrollment process by visiting TogetherRxAccess.com or call 1-800-444-4106.

 Drug company assistance programs

Every drug company has a prescription assistance program that they administer for truly needy people that use very expensive prescription drugs. For example, I Googled “Glaxo Smith Kline free program” and came up with a list of approximately ten programs for people, both under and above age 65 to help with drug costs.  That was just for one drug company, but I have heard that all the big pharmaceutical manufacturers have a similar program.  Here are a few names to try:  Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Roche, Novartis, AstraZenica.  Here is a link to an article on Wikipedia that has links to all the big drug companies.

 Wholesale Clubs

Finaly, don’t forget your local Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s. Did you know that despite the people they have guarding the door from entrants without membership cards, you do not have to have a membership card at any of the warehouse clubs in order to use their pharmacies? Just tell the door guard that you are visiting the pharmacy and they have to let you in!

So, if you are looking at the prospect of having to pay a huge proportion of your salary in prescription drug costs, don’t despair! Get busy and see how you can help yourself. One of the programs above may be just the answer for you!

**I first heard of BidRx.com in one of Clark Howard’s excellent books, Living Large in Lean Times, available on Amazon.com. When he discussed the BidRx.com site, he said he had set up an access code of “clark.” Since he has one, and I don’t, and he shared his publicly, I am sure he won’t mind if you use it. Neither he nor I get one penny from a referral to BidRx.com (but the link to the book IS a referral link to my account at Amazon, so if you use my link to purchase the book, I’ll get a small commission.)
 
Photo credit: David Goehring / CC BY 2.0

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