Risky Drug Cost-Cutting

Consumer Watch -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Too many people are trying to cut drug costs by splitting pills or skipping doses, even sharing with friends. And not enough people are talking to their doctor about alternate, cheaper prescriptions, which could save you $1,000 to $3,000 a year!

Sticker shock is taking a toll at the pharmacy counter.

A Consumer Reports Health poll of more than 2,000 Americans reveals 66% didn't know the cost of a prescription before picking it up at the pharmacy. Dr. John Santa, Consumer Reports Health : "Just 4 percent said they had found out about the cost of their prescription at their doctor's office." The director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, Doctor John Santa, says almost 30% of people said they're taking potentially dangerous measures to cut drug costs: "Some people told us they're splitting pills on their own, or skipping doses, or sharing prescriptions with someone else … or even worse, not filling a prescription at all."

There are far safer ways to save on prescription medication. Generics are certainly one way. The consumerreportshealth.org site can help you find good alternatives to brand-name drugs. For example, if your doctor switched you from cholesterol-lowering Lipitor to a generic of another statin, Lovastatin, you could save nearly a thousand dollars a year.

Of those polled, 47% said they had some reservations or misconceptions regarding generics, which are as safe and effective as brand-name drugs.

So to avoid any surprises at the pharmacy counter, check with your doctor about a drug cost and whether you can take a cheaper, equally effective alternative.

Consumer Reports Health also says be skeptical of drugs you see advertised on T-V. They're likely to be expensive and not necessarily your best choice. If you want more information on how to save more money on prescriptions, www.consumerreports.org/health/prescription-drugs/best-drugs-for-less/overview/best-drugs-for-less.htm


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