Top 17 Ways to Cut Your Prescription Drug Costs

1. You May Qualify for a Free Drug program.

· There are over 1,100 drugs that are made by 100

manufacturers who have free drug programs. Most major drug

companies provide free medications, but rarely, if ever

publicize their programs. An estimated two billion dollars

of free medication is given away annually.

· Larry’s father has prostate cancer and takes Casodex

every day, which costs $300 a month in the US, and $180 from

Mexico. He sent his father’s information to see if he

qualified. He recently found out his father did qualify to

receive the drug free. Larry just happened to see a small

article buried inside the newspaper. He never knew these

programs existed.

· A complete list of drugs and manufacturers’ programs is

available. For more information visit:

2. Get a Pharmacy Discount Card for Free.

· AdvanceRx offers a free discount card to anyone that saves

13%-25% and covers all drugs dispensed at a pharmacy. For

details, call 1-800-ADVANCE (238-2623) or

· There are five free discount cards for Senior citizens.

The discount cards cover over 200 popular medications.

3. Save Up to 93% by Asking for a Generic

· Use generics whenever they are available. Both brand name

and generic drugs contain the same active ingredients, are

the same in strength and dosage, meet the same government

quality control standards.

· According to Mark Erblat, Pharmacy Director and owner of

Rx For You, cost savings on brand name vs. generic will vary

from drug to drug and pharmacy to pharmacy but can be

significant. For instance:

· Prozac brand 20mg, 100 tablets cost $280.19 and generic

sells for $29.99 (Savings 89%)

· Vasotec brand 5mg, 100 tablets costs $103.59 and generic

sells for $18.19 (Savings 82%)

· Zantac brand 150mg 100 tablets costs $173.39 and generic

sells for $10.99 (Savings 93%)

· Zestril brand 10mg 100 tablets costs $96.29 and generic

sells for $39.99 (Savings 58%)

4. Veterans Now Qualify for More Benefits.

· Recent laws have changed that grant veterans medical

benefits for certain illnesses like diabetes and

hypertension, provided the veteran is subject to qualifying

conditions like agent orange exposure.

· See if you qualify for benefits by checking with the

Veteran’s Administration.

5. Cut Your Costs in Half… by Using a Pill Splitter.

· Most pharmacies should stock pill splitters. Sometimes,

medications can be broken in half and save you 50%. The

reason is because several pharmaceutical manufacturers price

some of their medications the same for all strengths.

· Lipitor is essentially the same price for all strengths.

It is possible to save as much as $100 on a one month supply

of Lipitor just by getting the larger strength and cutting

in half. Ask your pharmacist.

· This method may not be appropriate for all medications and

could be dangerous if used with the wrong medication.

· Begin by asking your doctor or pharmacist if your

medication is available in a dose double your normal dosage

(ex, if you usually take a 20 mg. pill, is a 40 mg. pill

available?). If it is, ask whether there would be any

problems with splitting the tablets or capsules.

· Now, do a cost comparison between the two dosages. If the

higher dose is less than double the cost for your regular

dose then you will be saving money by having your doctor

prescribe the higher dose and then splitting it. Cost savings is

typically 32% to 50%.

. Viagra is another medication that lends itself to being

split in half or quarters to save 50% to 75% depending upon

the dosage required. The average Viagra user who uses two

doses per week can save over $400.00 per year.

· This method is not appropriate for all medications. Check

with your pharmacist. Some easily split medications include:

Ambien, Aricept, Buspar, Effexor, Lipitor, Luvox, Paxil,

Remeron, Risperidal, Seroquel, Serzone, Viagra, Zoloft,

Zyprexa. (Ask your pharmacist about others)

6. Save by Buying a 90 vs. 30-Day Supply.

· Most pharmacies have higher savings on a longer days

supply. In addition, when it comes to people who have

insurance prescription coverage, there may be other savings

by getting a larger day supply.

· For instance, if you have a $10 co-pay, the insurance

company will let you get only a 30 days supply in general

for that $10. A 90-day supply bought with out insurance may

only cost you $18.

· This would be much cheaper than paying $10 per month ($30

for 90 days). It would also save you two trips to the


7. Ask for an Older Medication That is as Effective.

· Many pharmacists agree, that antibiotics are probably the

most over prescribed, or incorrectly prescribed medications.

Often, the physician will prescribe a newer antibiotic that

has been promoted as more effective. What this really means

is that it is considerably more expensive.

· The newer antibiotics are often no more effective than the

older antibiotics. However, they are new and covered by

patent protection. Therefore, the newer medication is more

effective in ensuring a nice profit for the drug

manufacturer for many years.

· Since many generics are made in the same factory as the

brand name ones, make sure you ask your doctor for a

generic antibiotic. A great generic broad- spectrum

antibiotic costs 80% less than a new antibiotic. In dollars,

it costs you $20 instead of $100.

8. Over-the-Counter Drugs May be as Effective as the

Prescription Drug.

· Many doctors still prescribe Pepcid 20mg to their

patients. A one-month supply of Pepcid 20mg cost

approximately $60. Pepcid AC, over-the-counter in 10mg

strength, taking double the dose costs approximately $23.

· Most prescription cold medications average $20 to $60 for

a one month supply and contain the same decongestant that is

available over-the-counter for less than $2.

9. Get Only a 7-day Supply of New Medication.

· If the doctor does not have samples, ask your pharmacist

to give you only a one-week supply to try. It is a federal

law that medicines can’t be returned once they are

dispensed. If you get a month’s supply and can’t tolerate

the medicine, you have just lost that money.

10. Stop Using Drugs You No Longer Need.

· Review all your prescriptions with your doctor at each

visit. You may be paying for some drugs you no longer need.

· Doctor run provides a custom analysis of

your medications to save you money. You can get a free, no

obligation, Cost Screening to find out how much you can


· Also ask your pharmacist to review your medications in

addition to your doctor. Here is why. A pharmacist’s

valuable services and knowledge are free. He may also find

something your doctor missed.

· A lady developed a persistent cough after she had been

taking a blood pressure medication for approximately 3

months. Her doctor treated her cough with antibiotics and

cough syrup for 6 months. She asked her pharmacist about her

cough lasting so long. The pharmacist found that a possible

side effect of her new blood pressure medication was a

persistent cough. Her doctor argued but changed her medicine

and her cough stopped. The lady had spent over $750 in

doctor’s fees and medication just to treat the cough.

· A mother was giving her daughter antibiotics to treat a

kidney infection. Her daughter consistently had a fever.

This continued for several months. The baby’s pediatrician

prescribed several antibiotics unsuccessfully. After

searching the literature, the pharmacist discovered that the

antibiotic had a side effect of persistent low-grade fever.

In the end, the mother had spent over $500 on doctor visits

and prescription cost.

· Don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist questions, their

advice is free and can often save you money and aggravation.

Ask questions about side effects, and drug interactions.

11. Order Your Prescription Drugs by Phone.

· You can save 20%-50% by ordering prescription drugs over

the phone. Bonus, you do not have to pick them up at the


· Make a list of your medications, including strength and

number taken daily. Then list at least six pharmacies you

are going to call. Don’t forget about discount mail order

sources too, several are listed at the end of this booklet.

Then call and get prices, ask if this is their best price

available. Compare the costs.

12. Pay Attention to the Quantity.

· Find out how much medication you really may need, and make

sure your doctor doesn’t order you more medicine than is

necessary to treat your condition.

13. Ask Your Doctor for Samples at Every visit. They Usually

Have Plenty.

14. Take Only Those Drugs You Really Need.

· When your doctor prescribes medication for you, understand

exactly what it’s meant to do and for how long. If you

areprescribed two drugs for the same symptom, ask if you

really need both.

15. Buy Home Test Kits.

· Kits for determining ovulation, pregnancy and colorectal

cancer, can be purchased as home tests instead of paying

twice as much for similar kits at your doctor’s office.

16. Cross the Border.

· If you live close to either Canada or Mexico, you can buy

some medications in either country for 75% off the U.S.


17. AARP Members are Eligible for Many Discounts, Including

Mail-Order Pharmacy Discounts.

· Ask for an AARP discount.

If you have questions about these tips or your medication

ask your doctor and pharmacist.


* Senior Discount Card Programs *


(G) GlaxoSmithKline’s The Orange Card (888) 672-6436

· Covers all GSK’s drugs. Must have an annual income below

$30,000 per individual or $40,000 per couple

· 30% average at participating pharmacies

(L) Eli Lilly’s LillyAnswers Card (877) 795-4559

· Covers all Lilly’s drugs except controlled substances.

Must have an annual income below $18,000 per individual or

$24,000 per couple.

· $12 Co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.

(N) Novartis’ CareCard call (866) 974-2273

· Covers select Novartis drugs. · Tier 1 must have an annual

income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple.

$12 Co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.

· Tier 2 must have an annual income below $26,000 per

individual or $35,000 per couple. Receive a 25% or more


(P) Pfizer’s The Share Card call (800) 717-6005

· Covers all Pfizer’s drugs. Must have an annual income

below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per couple.

· $15 Co-pay per prescription for 30-day supply.

(T) Together Rx Card (800) 865-7211

· Over 150 select drugs from a group of manufacturers. Must

have an annual income below $28,000 per individual or

$38,000 per couple. (Higher in AK and HI).

· Savings of approximately 20-40% off the amount you usually

pay for prescriptions and, in many cases, substantially



Alternative Medicine Has a Technical Value

Medicine was always located in drugs or in surgery. It was supported by a parallel system that was independent and complementary known as Alternative Medicine. However the two, till recently, were not destined to meet.

Medicine emerged from a system of clinical testing, of surveys, scans, medical records, experiments and data. These passed through rigorous tests of approval before licensed boards. The system bragged rights of methodology, license, discipline and efficacy. Alternative medicine, was located in systems of natural wellness, based on drug less, non-invasive technique. The mastery and skill of practise emerged from classical ancient texts, or new scientific discoveries with manual handling. Popular traditions of Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Ayurveda, Yoga, and Aromatherapy, homeopathy fell under this broad umbrella category of ancient practise and tradition.

Alternative medicine came under technical license and statute with World Health Organization that demystified the ancient systems and folklore. The standardization of acupuncture points in acupuncture practise amongst all countries, boards, colleges and practitioners became clear and uniform in technical description. There were energetic secret practises involved supplemented by martial healing arts as chi gong, tai-chi, ki aikido and others, which were not listed. The fact that the healing arts was essentially energetic, meant that acquired practitioner skills was relative to the development and cultivation of an energetic internal space.

World Health Organization addressed issues of nomenclature and technical description in some preferred ancient therapies based on scriptures. Indian Head Massage is an example of a popular science based on classification of marma points and ayurvedic massage techniques,arranged to an international qualification for practise. This science is well described by National Occupational Standards competency technical listings for applied use. Some other new systems have emerged based on public demand that are complementary practises to medicine. These include popular manual therapies as sports massage, lymphatic drainage massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, structural integration, amongst many more. Formalization of these sciences have taken place in clinical, and scientific practise. Competent Assessor and Regulatory boards across nations have sanctioned some of these disciplines as pure or integrated alternative medicine, and managed the industry to manifest in a parallel yet complementary field.

The formalization of Alternative medicine grew in significance as modern modalities and technologies were rooted in ancient systems. Light therapies and low level laser became an option for acupuncture where needles were not suitable. Full body bio-feedback machines as Medilab’s Beautytech, have been based on galvanic induction and acupoint bio modulation through acupuncture meridians and lymphatic pathways.

Innovation in alternative medicine, is based on the formal understanding of natural process that has benefited humans greatly for many centuries.

Low level laser was able to shift the acupuncture phenomenon to the next level with the discovery of the genetic potential of blood acupuncture with blood laser irradiation through the vein. Adjunct treatments with chlorophyll and light sensitizers supports the reversal of tissue death as in the case of malignancy. The advantage of modern scientific discovery in alternative medicine is that treatment protocols have complete controls and outcomes, and the mystical human energetic practise is apart from the therapy.

The UK Crown encouraged medical practitioners, to embrace the alternative medicine industry and to approve its practises for better wellness support. This was resisted at first, and suspicion continued between the two streams. However, medical practitioners have themselves absorbed medical acupuncture in their practise through sanctioned seminars of late, and grown in awareness of the therapeutic value of standardized systems.

As the Industry vectors grow in the ecosystems, sciences and preferences seem to merge. The disparities are less and disciplines meet with consensus. Prospects ahead seem promising and recovery is well in hand.

Cranberry Juice With Acid-Reducing Drugs – Reduce Nutrient Depletion From GERD and Heartburn Drugs

Cranberry Juice is commonly known to help with decreasing the frequency and/or severity of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and other urinary troubles including kidney stones. One of the chief causes of UTIs is the presence of the bacterium E. coli which adheres to the cell walls of the bladder and urinary tract, thus causing an infection. Cranberry Juice keeps bacteria from sticking to the walls, thus decreasing the likelihood that an infection will result. It also increases the pH of the urine; bacteria that cause UTIs have trouble growing in an acidic environment.

E. coli is often in the news as being the contaminant of recalled food, or being in lakes or other bodies of water where it is suggested people avoid swimming. E. coli is a natural “component” in the feces/stool of mammals-humans too. E. coli helps food break down to release its nutrients for use. It also makes Vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting abilities. Without E. coli in the intestines, a person would bleed to death because Vitamin K is needed to make blood clotting factors.

E. coli bacteria become a problem when there is too much of it, or if it is found in places outside of the intestines and colon. Therefore, food eaten that is contaminated with E. coli causes illness. Often the E. coli that enters the urinary tract comes from the feces of the person who develops the UTI.

Aside from being effective against E. coli, this remarkable Juice has also been found to inhibit the growth of mold and yeast as well, which can also cause bladder infections.

Cranberry Juice has also shown to be a powerful antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory agent. Due to its high mineral and vitamin content, it has been used repeatedly to assist with asthma and other respiratory ailments, cancer, various inflammatory conditions, and even to protect the skin against the damages from UV (ultraviolet) radiation and the sun (Cohen, 2011).

But recently (Cohen, 2011), it was discovered that Cranberry Juice will reduce the amount of nutrient depletion caused by the acid-reducing drugs H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors:

>cimetidine (Tagamet®)

>esomeprazole (Nexium®)

>famotidine (Pepcid®)

>lansoprazole (Prevacid®)

>nizatidine (Axid®)

>omeprazole (Prilosec®)

>pantoprazole (Protonix®)

>rabeprazole (Aciphex®)

>ranitidine (Zantac®)

H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are often prescribed for the treatment of Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), heartburn, sour stomach and virtually any other symptom that affects the stomach including nausea. It has also been prescribed for heart palpitations when no heart pathology has been found.

In 2010, the drug esomeprazole (Nexium®) was the number 2 prescribed drug in the United States (and number one for income for all drugs prescribed in the same year)-25,872 prescriptions were written for this one GERD drug alone. The cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor® was #1 with 37,523 prescriptions (Drugs, 2011).

Nutrient Depletion by Medical Drugs

All medical drugs deplete vital nutrients from the body, although no one drug depletes them all. Depletion occurs either because the medical drug binds to the nutrient then they both get flushed together, or through a secondary action-the drug interferes with the absorption of the nutrient, so the body’s stores are not revitalized, thus causing a deficiency as the nutrients are used without being replaced in the diet or through supplementation.

Since H2 Blockers and PPIs work in the stomach to reduce the production of acid, most nutrients in the diet are not processed as they should be, thus they do not get absorbed by the body for use.

H2 Blockers and PPIs interfere with the absorption of most of the water-soluble vitamins (the B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, etc.) as well as minerals that require a high degree of stomach acid to convert them into a usable form (such as potassium, magnesium and calcium).

How Can Cranberry Juice Help Prevent Nutrient Depletion by These Drugs?

Cranberry is an acidic substance. Drinking Cranberry Juice with meals helps the nutrients to be absorbed that would otherwise be blocked by the drugs. Cranberries are also a rich source of many nutrients, especially those that are blocked by the H2 Blockers and PPIs, as well as Quercetin which helps decrease inflammation; a side effect common of acid-blocking drugs is inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

Safety Note

Cranberry is in the Ericaceae botanical family. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to any other member of this family, you might also have a reaction to Cranberry. Other medicinal members are bearberries, blueberries, bilberries, mayflower, uva ursi and wintergreen.

Do not eat or drink Cranberries if you are sensitive to any member of this family.


Cohen, Suzy (2011). Drug Muggers: Which Medications are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients-and Natural Ways to Restore Them. Emmaus, PA: Rodale. (2011). “Pharmaceutical Sales 2010” at

Best Wishes,

Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys ND, CHom

Homeopathic Centers of America

Disclaimer: The information provided by Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is for educational purposes only. It is important that you not make health decisions or stop any medication without first consulting your personal physician or health care provider.