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Savings Experiment: Treating the High Cost of Prescription Drugs

February 17, 2011 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: WalletPop.com, by Barbara Thau – 2.15.2011

As the economy still muddles through a funk, the price of prescription drugs continues to soar. in fact, drug prices are the fastest growing chunk of consumers’ healthcare expenses, according to the non-profit Families USA.

But there are myriad ways to meaningfully trim your prescription drug bill. From generic drugs to assistance programs — here’s how to save on your meds — and do so safely.

Avoid Brand Names

To slash as much as 70% off the price of your medications, buy generic.

“If you are given a prescription for a brand name drug from your doctor, it’s always good to ask, ‘Is there a generic equivalent for this drug?’ ” says Jody Rohlena, senior editor at Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart.

A recent report by Best Buy Drugs, a division of Consumers Union (Consumer Reports’ parent company), examined the safety and effectiveness of prescription medications and found that generics are as safe and effective as brand names.

Tap Low-Cost Prescription Programs (Located On Medtipster.com)

Take advantage of the price war being waged among national discounters and supermarket chains for generic prescription medications.

Walmart, Target and Kroger charge $4 for a month’s supply on hundreds of generic drugs. Some other options, recommends ShopSmart, include Costco, Kmart, Drugstore.com and Walgreens, which also run reputable and highly-affordable discount drug programs.

To save a few extra dollars, ask your doctor for 90-day prescriptions. Walmart, for example, offers $4 for a month’s supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. With buying in bulk, the savings will add up as you fill more prescriptions and it will also save you trips to the drugstore.

‘Splitting’ the Cost

If you take prescription drugs to treat a chronic illness, you might be able to save money by splitting your pills — literally cutting them in half. With prescription medication costs soaring, many doctors are advising patients to do just that.

Pill-splitting can save money because pharmacies routinely charge roughly the same amount for a particular medication, regardless of the dose. But don’t go it alone: It’s crucial to consult your doctor about splitting your pills as not all medicines can be safely divided.

For example, a once-a-day drug may cost $100 for a month’s supply in either a 100-milligram dose or a 50-mg dose. If your doctor prescribes the 50-mg pill, it will set you back $100. But if your doctor prescribes the 100-mg pill and instructs you to cut it in half, $100 will get you two months worth of the medication, according to The Shoppers Guide to Prescription Drugs: Pill Splitting, a report from Best Buy Drugs.

Pill-splitters cost between $5 and $10 and can be found in most drugstores.

Although the American Medical Association opposes the practice, they acknowledge that many pills can be split safely if done correctly, the Best Buy Drugs report says.

Ask for Help

If you’re having trouble paying for medication, let your doctor know.

A physician can help spell out your options, such as financial help through your insurer, if you have one, and patient-assistance programs that you might qualify for.

Some pharmaceutical companies also provide free and low-cost medications to people who cannot afford to pay for medications.

RxAssist offers a database of such programs, as well as ways to manage your prescription drug expenses. DestinationRx is another source, with price comparison tools and guidance on drug-purchasing options.

Rx Savings for Seniors

The quest for affordable medication takes on a heightened sense of urgency when it comes to seniors: Most seniors are on a fixed income and are among the biggest consumers of prescription drugs, representing 34% of the prescriptions filled in the U.S., according to Families USA.

High costs mean that many seniors “have had to make some tough decisions in terms of taking their medicines,” says David Allen, a spokesman for AARP.

Now the government is offering some relief. A provision in the new healthcare law is designed to take a bite out of what’s known as “the doughnut hole,” and over time close the coverage gap on prescription medications.

As things were last year, once seniors spent $2,830 on medication, they had to pay 100% for their prescriptions until they reached the $3,610 threshold — a financial hardship for many older Americans. Now, when they reach the $2,830 threshold, the government will chip in 50% of the cost for brand-name drugs and 7% for generics, Allen says. By 2020, the doughnut hole will cease to exist, says Allen.

If you’re on Medicare, keep track of your particular prescription costs with AARP’s Doughnut Hole Calculator.

Use it to alert you when you’re nearing the coverage gap. It also will offer a list of alternative, lower-cost drugs based on your prescription drug profile that you can take to your doctor to discuss whether switching to a lower-cost drug will work for you.

In addition, AARP provides a handy Drug Savings Tool link where consumers can compare a drug’s efficacy and price against alternative medications listed by Best Buy Drugs.

Buyer Beware: Pharmacy Fraud

Pharmacy fraud is alive and well and living on the Internet. Scam artists are there seeking money, or personal information to commit identity theft.

These types of predators mostly hunt their prey online, says Sally Hurme, senior product manager of education and outreach for AARP, who tracks pharmacy scams that target the entire drug-purchasing population.

When an online offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. An email offer for prescription medications at bargain basement prices (that does not come directly from a well-known retailer or your health insurance company) is most likely a scam, Hurme says. And email that says “Viagra for $10″ or “Prilosec for $5,” for example, should go right in your email trash — chances are that it will wind up in your spam folder anyway.

Scam artists often masquerade as online pharmacists. They woo consumers to pay upfront in exchange for a supposed drug discount card. Shoppers who “order” their medications receive nothing at all, or drugs that are compromised in some way — be they expired or at the wrong dosage.

Be skeptical. Before filling a prescription online, be sure that the pharmacy requires a doctor’s prescription. And never provide your personal information — such as your Social Security number, credit card or health history — to a website unless you’ve verified that it’s secure, says AARP.

Welcome to Medtipster.com’s “Create a Caption” game!

June 22, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster

Please send your caption ideas for the photo below to contact@medtipster.com with “Create a caption” in the subject line.

Winners will receive a $100.00 gift card to one of the following Pharmacy supporters, Kmart, Kroger or Walmart. Winner’s choice.  Winner selected monthly by www.Medtipster.com.

In this photo, Medtipster President Jason Klein (right) speaks with Compuware President, Peter Karmanos (left).

Through the “FREE Everyday Prescription Giveaway,” Medtipster will process free generics for Michigan residents at pharmacies including Kroger, Target, Spartan Stores and Walmart.

December 01, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, Medtipster

Medtipster's FREE Every Day Giveaway

Medtipster's FREE Every Day Giveaway

Today Medtipster, the company behind the online healthcare search engine and price comparator Medtipster.com, announced the launch of a new program to create awareness of a safe and effective way to reduce consumers’ healthcare costs in the face of today’s difficult economy.

Through Medtipster’s “FREE Everyday Prescription Giveaway,” Michigan residents can visit www.medtipster.com throughout December to register for a chance to win a free qualifying generic prescription on a discount list from a participating pharmacy. No purchase is necessary to register. Network pharmacies on medtipster.com include Kroger, Target, Spartan Stores, and Walmart, among others. Hundreds of winners will be selected at random during the 31-day promotion, ending December 31, 2009. Winners will select from thousands of qualifying generic medications listed on www.medtipster.com and receive up to a three-month supply for free at participating pharmacies.

“Switching to generic prescriptions on discount lists is a great way for consumers to save money on their rising healthcare costs, without compromising their quality of care,” said Jason A. Klein, President of Medtipster. “Our ‘FREE Everyday’ promotion will bring awareness to this, and to the fact that consumers can save everyday by using Medtipster.com to find where they can locate generic equivalents of their medications on discount pricing programs by zip code, right in their neighborhoods. We are not an e-commerce site – instead we help consumers find where they can purchase their prescription medications and find seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations at the lowest price, right in their neighborhoods.”

Based in Troy, Mich., Medtipster is launching the promotion in Michigan, but will soon expand the promotion nationwide. For more information or to register for a chance to win, visit www.medtipster.com.

About Medtipster

Medtipster (www.medtipster.com) was developed to provide the public with a solution to the rising cost of healthcare. Headquartered in Troy, Mich., Medtipster is the brainchild of five Michigan executives, who combined their collective experience of 100 years in the pharmaceutical industry to provide Americans with substantial savings on their prescription drug and healthcare expenses.

H1N1 Vaccine Now Available at 123 Locations in Ten States

November 05, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

While many wait for the latest information from their local news source, Medtipster.com announces the following have the H1N1 vaccine available:

pathmark

Six Pathmark Supermarkets in NJ offer H1N1 vaccine

A & P Supermarket – 7 stores in New Jersey
Butlers Pharmacy – 1 store in New Jersey
Harmon’s Grocery Store – 9 stores in Utah
CVS’s Minute Clinics – 9 clinics in Florida, Virginia, Michigan, & Missouri
Pathmark Supermarket – 6 stores in New Jersey
Smith’s Food and Drug – 22 stores in Utah
Walmart’s Solantic Clinic – 3 clinics in Florida
Super Fresh Markets – 1 store in New Jersey
Walgreen’s Take Care Clinics – 42 stores in Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, Missouri, Washington & Ohio
Walgreen’s – 18 stores in Utah
Safeway – 2 stores in Washington
Medicap Pharmacy – 1 store in Washington
La Conner Drug – 1 store in Washington
Fred Meyer – 1 store in Washington

The stores with the vaccine available are currently in our database. If you live in one of the above mentioned areas, please visit http://medtipster.com/services.php?type=shots and select H1N1 from the drop down menu and enter you zip code for a list of the locations nearest you.

Continue to visit www.medtipster.com for updates as we receive information on more stores with the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. Bookmark our home page, add us to your favorites, join our facebook fan page, follow us on twitter! Stay up to date with the latest news on healthcare with Medtipster.com!

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Uninsured Numbers Rising!

October 06, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

The number of uninsured nationwide rose to 46.3 million in 2008, up 1.3% from 45.7 million the prior year, with 15.4% of the total population uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Our goal is to provide a road map for the 15.4% that have no insurance. Medtipster.com is the best way to find medications at the right price. Whether it’s CVS Pharmacy, Kroger Pharmacy, Target Pharmacy, Kmart Pharmacy, Meijers Pharmacy, Walmart Pharmacy, Rite-Aid, Spartan Pharmacy, etc… The choice is yours! Medtipster offers the information, you do the rest.

Find your nearest Pharmacy by using medtipster.com

Free prescriptions? Really? Can’t beat FREE.

October 05, 2009 By: Jason A. Klein Category: Free Prescriptions, Medtipster

Jason Klein

Jason Klein

We at Medtipster have been monitoring the discounted generic programs offered by many of the retail chains for years now. Of course we have, it’s our business. Kroger, Target, Walmart, etc… offer $4.00 30 day supplies and $10.00 90 day supplies… Take it from a “lifer” in the Rx business, THAT’S AN AMAZING PROGRAM! We have several large employers in North Carolina that have instituted managed Rx plans on top of their current PBM / Rx program in an attempt to steer their folks to low cost generics. For more information, please contact us. We are huge fans of you BCBSNC (Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina) & would love to work with you!

Now the trend appears to be to offer FREE prescriptions. REALLY! We’re all in! Meijers in the midwest has been doing this for years and is extremely succesful. Now Stater Bros. & Albertsons are getting in the game. Kudos to you! Our goal is to get prescriptions in the hands of consumers that need them and at the right price. Sounds like that meets our criteria.

Best,

JK

Jason A. Klein
President
Medtipster, LLC.
email: jklein@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

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