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Home  > Money >  Savings

Rx for Savings
by Rick Doble

I consider Phil Alexander to be an important friend, even though we never get together socially. Phil is my pharmacist at the local K-mart.

Phil once told me to do business with pharmacists who will talk with me. "If they won't, then switch," he insisted. I have since often sought his advice and he may even have saved my life one time.

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Some years ago I went to the pharmacy with two prescriptions for two unrelated health problems. When Phil handed me the medicine he stated emphatically, "Do not take these at the same time. Some people have died when they did." My doctor had not mentioned this.

As you and your parents get older, drug expenses become a greater part of the budget. So to find ways to cut back without risking your health, here are some areas where your druggist can give you important advice.

Less medicine:
If you or your parents have been on a medication for years, you may find that you can reduce the amount taken. Phil also advised me once that I could take less of my allergy medication if I wanted to. Now, I simply cut the pills in half and save $300 a year. Always ask your pharmacist before you do this.

With the health-care system being what it is, you may find that different doctors have prescribed virtually the same drugs. That could be causing you to over-medicate.

Get generic drugs:
A recent FDA study found that there was no difference between the effectiveness of generic and brand-name prescription drugs. The difference in cost can be dramatic. So be sure your physician gives you prescriptions that allow generic versions.

List your insurance:
Even if your insurance does not cover prescription expenses, list the insurance with your pharmacist. You may get a discount just for having that policy.

Buy in bulk:
Every time you get a prescription, it costs you money. There is a lot of paper work involved with filling a prescription. You can save by buying a larger quantity at one time. For example, picking up a prescription each week will cost you a lot more for the same pills as getting it filled once a month. Ask about the difference in price.

Rick Doble is Editor & Publisher of

Related Stories
• Money Wise Archive
• Who Is Rick Doble?

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Related Stories
• Money Wise Archive
• Who Is Rick Doble?

Web Links
• PharmInforNet
• planetRx

Related Books
• Complete Guide to Prescription & Nonprescription Drugs, H. Winter Griffith
• The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2000, James J. Rybacki, James W. Long
• The Physician's Desk Reference Pocket Guide

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