5 On Your Side

Off brands help cut prescription costs

Posted September 18, 2013

— Whether you purchase them from the corner pharmacy, big box store, or by mail, filling medicine prescriptions can be very costly. 

For people taking prescription medicine regularly, Consumer Reports said, the average annual cost is more than $700.

However, Consumer Reports says there is a way to save.

“The first thing you can consider is taking an over-the-counter medication for really common ailments, as opposed to taking a prescription drug. But of course, you’d want to do that with the advice of your doctor,” Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports said.

For seasonal allergies, Claritin is a good and less expensive substitute for prescription Xyzal.

For heartburn, Prilosec or other store brands with the ingredient omeprazole are as effective as prescription Nexium.

For occasional insomnia, look for generic diphenhydramine, the ingredient in Sominex and Benadryl Allergy opposed to prescription Lunesta.

Not using your insurance to pay for prescriptions is another way to save, according to Consumer Review.

Utilizing discount programs at stores such as Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target can be cheaper than the insurance company’s rates.

"Other ways to save? If your insurance company has a preferred pharmacy, you definitely want to shop there because you could see some pretty big deals. If they have a mail-order program, you may want to check that out, too, because you could see some savings there as well,” Gill said.

When shopping for over-the-counter medications, don’t look past the store brands. They are often right next to the name brand items and can cost a lot less.

Consumer Reports also says don’t assume drugstore displays that say “clearance” or “sale” are the best deal.

The store brand could still be the better deal.


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  • lovinOBX Sep 23, 2013

    They didn't bother to tell you in this article that some of these "store brands", are being made in China, and India. Don't know about you, but I'd rather pay a bit extra to be sure my meds are being manufactured in America, where the FDA regulates the manufacturing process and protects our safety and health!

  • Danny22 Sep 20, 2013

    Obama promised a lot of things, told a lot of lies in order to implement healthcare communism. My doctor retired early bc he said, "of federal red tape", one of my 2 prescriptions more than doubled in price and my insurance premiums increased substantially. So for me, it was a complete PACK of LIES.

  • whatelseisnew Sep 19, 2013

    Yep, there are many ways to save money on health care related costs. However, most people are too lazy to do it and instead would prefer someone else be forced to pay instead.