How to Save Money at the Drug Store

Name brand drugs might be one of the biggest scams at your local grocery store pharmacy. Pharmaceutical companies are infamous for their dastardly deeds. Besides doing large scale things like refusing to provide cheap, inexpensive versions of drugs as there are no profit margins, these drug companies will spend billions of dollars building a name brand like Tylenol or Robaxacet so that when you have back pain the first thing that comes into your mind is the name brand that they want you to purchase. Why do they do this? The same reason all companies do the things that they are required by their stockholders to do – profit. So how can you counter this? Here’s three things that you can do in order to save money at the drug store when you need to stock up on medication.

Compare Medical Ingredients

Medicine Pills And Canadian BillsDespite the fancy packaging and promotional advertisements, almost all name brand drugs have a simple set of ingredients. In Canada, by law, the manufacture must disclose on the packaging the amount and type of medical ingredients. Tylenol, for example, contains acetaminophen. There are plenty of other drugs that will also contain acetaminophen. Check all other brands and packages for the amount of acetaminophen – the same amount, the same amount of pain killing power. It gets a little more complicated when you’re talking about “cold and flu” medicine, or vitamins, but the principle remains. Check the medical ingredients, not the name brand on the packaging.

Ask the Pharmacist

Sometimes it can be embarrassing to talk about the problems that you’re having, but a valid option is chatting with the pharmacist. They have a great knowledge of the active ingredients in medicine, so they’ll be able to point you in the right direction for a product that will work and will match your budget. Even better, sometimes they will be able to provide you with a free sample of a product that you may need just a little bit of. I often find that I’ll only need a very small amount of a certain type of medicine, and if I buy even a small container the medicine will expire before it gets used up. Samples of the product from a pharmacist is a good way to get some free drugs that can get you through a short term illness.

Choose Generic Drugs

When in doubt, go for the generic drugs. As long as you’ve compared the ingredients and chatted with a pharmacist about your options, house brand drugs are often vastly less expensive but just as effective. If your doctor has prescribed you a specific name brand for a drug, first ask your doctor if there is a generic alternative. Some health insurance companies only cover some drugs and not others, so also check with them if the drug that you’ve been prescribed will be covered. If it is too late, you can talk to the pharmacist as well and they may be able to get you a generic alternative if there is no risk to your health.

How do you save money while buying drugs?

Written by Alan Schram

Alan Schram writes about personal finance and his encounters with it in his everyday life. Alan is recently married and is looking to save money on expenses and reduce his debts.

2 Responses to How to Save Money at the Drug Store

  1. Costco has the least expensive prescriptions in my town so I shop there. I have been forced to get a late night antibiotic at Shopper’s Drug Mart and was shocked at what I paid.

    I shop around for the best value on everything and if I took a lot of drugs I would call around for prices.

    OTCs are so much less at Costco as well although I will never use my entire bottle of generic ibuprofen. Work gives me headaches but even those don’t require a Costco sized bottle of pain killer.

  2. We always get generic. Great tips! Thanks!

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