The price of prescription drugs can drain the wallets of many individuals and families, especially those who don’t have insurance or have skimpy coverage.

But even if you have good insurance, the difference in what you’ll pay for a brand-name preferred drug, a non-preferred drug and a generic can be significant. And if you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you pay out of pocket for medications until you meet your deductible.

It’s important to consult with your physicians at the time they pull out the white prescription pad. Find out if there’s a generic equivalent to the medicine being prescribed.  Generics are a lot less expensive than brand-names. An increasing number of prescriptions are generics – now 70% of the total filled. They cost up to 90% less than brand names, and for some people, that price difference can make the difference between taking a medication or skipping it because it’s too expensive.

Consumer Reports has an excellent guide for patients buying prescription drugs who fall in the categories of the privately insured, uninsured, Medicare, Medicaid and VA.   Check it out for good background information.

The Mayo Clinic has some do’s and don’ts if you’re considering buying prescription drugs online to save money.

Several states have prescription drug prices available online, but Georgia doesn’t. Yet here’s a national site that will help you compare prices.

Don’t forget that drug interactions can be dangerous. If a doctor prescribes a new medication, ask whether it will interfere with prescriptions you’re currently taking. You can get that information from a pharmacist, who may know all your medications, or consult a website such as WebMD, which lists side effects, interactions and other information about drugs.

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