Where in health am I? : Home > Health Cloud > Conditions > Drugs


I learned why they're called wonder drugs -- you wonder what they'll do to you - Harlan Miller


image by: Linda Bartlett

The cost of drugs continues to sky rocket. Yes, prescription drugs are expensive even in Canada but they are often the key to living a healthy, high quality life. Don't be one more unwilling victim of prescription drug costs.

It’s worth taking the time to learn about your prescriptions and your health plan so that you have the best opportunity to make the cost more affordable. So, here's some ways you can reduce your drug bill.

Choosing generics - We know that in general, the generic form of a drug works just as well as the brand name drug. In fact, though there may be differences in appearance, the therapeutic formulation is identical. Most health plans and many states require that the generic form of a drug be dispensed unless the prescribing physician specifically opposes the generic version. Interestingly, although 75% of all available drugs are available in generic form, only 65% of drugs prescribed are generic.

Choosing 'preferred' brands - If you are taking a brand name drug, it may be worthwhile to check with your health insurer to determine whether the plan has a preferred alternative brand that would cost you less. If so, talk with your doctor about whether it would be appropriate for you to try the preferred brand drug.

Mail Order - Many health plans offer the opportunity to fill prescriptions by mail. Often, there is a cost advantage to using the mail order method, such as getting a three months’ supply for a one month or two month co-pay. Check out your plan’s mail order option. If you can get a break on the co-pay, it’s almost always worth the initial extra work to get into the program. That extra work is typically asking your doctor to write a prescription for a three month supply of your medicine and sending that prescription to the mail order pharmacy along with all of your personal information and a payment mechanism.

Then there is half –tabbing, a little known but sometimes excellent way to reduce prescription costs by fifty percent. If you are taking a medication that comes in a variety of dosages, find out if you can buy that medication in double the dosage. If that’s possible, you may be able to split the tabs in half and make your prescription go twice as far.

Even if you do not have health plan coverage for prescriptions, you absolutely owe it to yourself to do the research and save money if you can. It pays in the long run!