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How to Save Money at the Pharmacy

Split Pills

Sometimes, investing a couple of dollars in a pill cutter can save you quite a lot. This probably isn't a very effective way to reduce costs if you have insurance, though. It may not work well for certain medications, either, because they cannot be split or because it just doesn't save any money (which depends on the manufacturer's pricing structure). However, if you're paying for a medication out of pocket (without insurance), it's worth checking with your pharmacist.
 
Never cut a pill without asking your doctor or pharmacist first. Please don't expect your pharmacist to cut your pills for you. Let them do it if they offer, but don't insist. Many pharmacists try to avoid cutting pills for patients because it's time consuming, the pills are more likely to crumble in your bottle, and every pharmacist has had the unfortunate experience of trying to cut very expensive tablets, only to have them crumble.
 
Here's another creative option. For drugs that have a long half-life, instead of taking a half a tablet every day, it might work to take a full tablet every other day. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the options for your particular drug. 
 

Consider Nonprescription Options

People tend to think that nonprescription medications are weaker than their prescription counterparts, but often, that's simply not the case. Many notable brand-name drugs have gone "over-the-counter" (OTC) in recent years. Take, for instance, Claritin®, Allegra®, Zyrtec®, Nasacort®, Oxytrol® for Women, Prilosec®, Prevacid®, and many others. For uninsured people, and very often for people with insurance, the OTC versions will almost always result in significant cost savings. Talk with your doctor about whether a nonprescription option would be right for you.
 
Some insurances cover nonprescription medications if you have a prescription, but some do not. The only way to figure out which option is less expensive is to ask your pharmacist or your insurance company. And keep in mind that your pharmacist won't be able to answer that question unless you actually have a prescription, since they must submit the claim in order to determine your cost.
 
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