CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Drug companies spend nearly six billion dollars to push their products. But they may not be the best ones available, especially if you're on a budget.
When you're sick you're focused on getting well. Few people ask the doctor how much that'll cost. The sticker shock usually comes at the pharmacy.
Consumer Reports found only four percent of patients ever talk about the cost of medicine with their doctor.
John Santa with Consumer Reports said, "Patients to some degree need to have a heart to heart when cost is an issue. It doesn't make much difference if they're not going to be able to afford the medicines that are prescribed."
Instead, Consumer Reports found patients are cutting corners: skipping doses, cutting pills in half, taking expired medicine, even sharing prescriptions. A few also spend less on groceries, put off paying bills or apply for government help. Experts say asking for generics could save many patients a lot of money but the poll found almost half don't think they're safe or effective.
Kathleen Jaeger with Generic Pharmaceutical Association said, "FDA approves generic medicines, providing the same medicine, and ensuring that they are safe and effective for their intended use."
Consumer Reports has put together a guide so patients can compare popular drugs and generics and add up the potential savings.
How much you could save by switching to a Best Buy Drug.
Low Cost Medications- Government Help
New state Rx programs that serve as clearinghouses for the more than 275 public and private prescription drug assistance programs that are available in the United States.
PhRMA has launched programs in six states, working with dozens of community and health organizations to aid patients find and apply for help with their prescription drug costs.
On the NeedyMeds Web site, you can search for free or low-cost prescription medication programs by:
- the brand-name or generic name of prescription medications
- drug company name
- state and local programs in your area
You have to apply for the program to be considered, and NeedyMeds provides a downloadable application on the Web site.
These programs provide prescription drugs free-of-charge to people in need, regardless of age, as long as they meet the sponsor's criteria.
Once a patient is approved and enrolled, the prescription drug is sent to his or her doctor, who dispenses it.
How Medicare Can Help With Prescriptions
Medicare now offers prescription drug coverage to eligible Americans.
If you qualify for Medicare, it will help you pay for both brand-name and generic medicine -- whatever your income, medical history or current coverage.
Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
There are currently millions of uninsured and financially-struggling patients in America eligible for help through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) who have not yet enrolled. Significant health care gaps exist in the U.S. today because low-income patients do not have access to the healthcare coverage they need to better fight disease. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is raising awareness of these programs to help ensure that patients get access to the coverage they need to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Participating Patient Assistance Programs
Many state and corporate prescription assistance programs help patients obtain free or low-cost medications.
Co-pay programs provide financial assistance for certain health care costs to patients who qualify financially and medically.
- American Kidney Fund
- Association of Community Cancer Centers
- Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation
- Caring Voice Coalition, Inc.
- Chai Lifeline
- Chronic Disease Fund, Inc. (CDF)
- Geriatric Services of America
- HealthWell Foundation
- Hunterdon County Medication Access Partnership (HCMAP)
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- MEDBANK of Maryland, Inc.
- National Children's Cancer Society
- National Organization for Rare Disorders
- Needy Meds
- Patient Access Network Foundation (PAN)
- Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief
- Patient Services Incorporated
- The Center for Medicare Advocacy
Free Health Clinics in Cleveland Area
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance can help you find free or low-cost health clinics near your home.
For additional ways to obtain free or low-cost prescription drugs, try the following discount drug card programs.
Phone: 1-866-410-4225 (answering machine only)