Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Don't be Penny Wise and Pain Foolish

Medications are expensive, especially those that are not yet available as generics.  I know people who don't take their medications regularly, or try to use something less expensive that doesn't help as much as a more expensive med might.  (This is not to say that more expensive medications are necessarily better, often they aren't, but newer meds usually are more expensive.)  Some people stop taking meds altogether because of the cost.  Sometimes it is a matter of affording either meds or food, and food wins out. These are not easy decisions to make.   If these issues are familiar to you personally, there may be options you did not consider or did not know about.
Before deciding not to take a medication because of the cost, talk to your doctor.  There may be other meds that will work as well for you that cost less.  Your doctor may have samples.  (Be aware:  often the meds that doctors have samples of are the more expensive, newer meds that the drug companies are pushing.  Sometimes a doctor will prescribe one of these meds because he has samples, or because the name of the med is on his mind because of the drug rep recently brought in the sample.  This is a good time to ask about the price, and if there is something just as good but less expensive.)
If there is a med that helps you but is expensive, search online for the drug's name, and also the name of the pharmaceutical company that makes it.  There are often websites not only for the company, but also the med itself.  Many companies have assistance programs for people who can't afford their meds.  There are even websites that can help you find this info.  One of them is Patientassistance.com.  You can search for specific meds or drug companies, they will give you info on the med, as well as what assistance is available, including coupons you can print out and take to your pharmacy.  Another, SCBN claims to have info on 270 patient assistance programs, and they work one on one with people to hook you up with the program(s) you need.  Another site is rxassist.org.  These programs have application processes, you need to not have medication insurance, and your income must be below a certain level based on number of people in the household.  
If you are on meds (as most of us are who have pain or illness issues) and are struggling to pay for them, or should be on meds, but aren't taking them because of finances, check out these routes I suggested, or google 'patient assistance program' to see what else is available.  There are always options.  Don't be penny wise and pain foolish.   Life is so much easier and pleasant when you have the meds you need, and less to worry about.

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