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How to Save Money at the Pharmacy

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Prices can vary drastically from pharmacy to pharmacy, so it can save you quite a bit of money to switch sometimes. There is a caveat, though. Make sure to have all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. It's much easier for your pharmacist to check for drug interactions if you use just one pharmacy.
If you take several medications, you'll likely find that it doesn't matter much which pharmacy you use. This is because while one pharmacy may have a low price on one medication, it may have a high price on another. In the end, it probably all averages out.
Keep in mind that if you have insurance, it almost never matters which pharmacy you choose, since it is your insurer (not the pharmacy) who determines how much you pay for your medications. Your co-pay will be the same, regardless of which pharmacy you choose. In these cases, go with whichever pharmacy you like the best, as your costs will be the same no matter where you go. However, because some plans are structured differently, this isn't always the case.

What Not to Do

There are some steps you can take to save money that just aren't worth the risk. Don't keep switching pharmacies to get the free gift cards they offer when transferring prescriptions. Don't get your medications from several different pharmacies. Don't commit insurance fraud (for instance, by lying to your doctor or pharmacist about how often you use a medication in order to obtain a larger supply for the same co-pay).
Don't skip doses of important medications. Don't cut any tablets without making sure it's safe to do so. Don't yell at your pharmacist for not using discount cards in combination with insurance or for not using a manufacturer's coupon in combination with a federally funded program. He or she is just following the law.
Finally, keep in mind that you need to account for all medication-related costs in your calculations. An older, cheaper medication may appear to be much more affordable, but if a newer drug is safer and requires less monitoring, the newer one might be most cost effective in the long run.
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