5 On Your Side

How to pay less for prescription drugs

Posted May 2, 2018 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:13 a.m. EDT

Americans spend more on prescription drugs than residents of any other county, and many turn to dangerous options to cut those costs.

According to Consumer Reports, 30 percent of people facing rising drug costs make the choice not to fill a prescription. Others ration drugs, taking less than the recommended dose.

Tami Alpert's daughter has a serious allergy. She said a pack of two EpiPens costs about $400.

"I left the pharmacy having not purchased it so that I could talk about it with my husband and figure out what we were going to do," she said.

Consumer Reports offered four other ways to get the drugs prescribed and still save money.

1. Talk with your doctor. An earlier survey found 70 percent of people who asked if they could cut back on medications were able to eliminate at least one drug.

2. If a drug is necessary, ask the doctor about cost.

3. Think 90-day supply. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, a 90-day prescription can save you money.

4. Always ask your pharmacist 'What's the lowest possible price you can offer?'

"A few hours later my pharmacist called me back and said that he had actually gone and done his own research and found additional coupons and that he was able to bring the price down - I think it was 147 or 48 dollars. I felt so relieved," Alpert said.

Consumer Reports secret shoppers called more than 150 pharmacies across the country to compare prices. They found the cost of the same prescription can vary by hundreds of dollars even in the same town. So, call around.