Texas Living

5 Ways to Save at the Pharmacy

By Jennifer Chappell-Smith 4.11.13

When I sensed a head cold coming on, I raced to the nearest drugstore to get a zinc- and herb-infused wonder drug my husband guaranteed would ward off the cold. The over-the-counter medicine was worth every bit of the $13 and change I paid for it. But I spent about $10 bucks on a non-drowsy head cold symptom reliever, too. While I was there, I picked up treats for my kids, the dozen eggs I had forgotten to buy at the grocery store, and some mascara. Never dreamed I’d spend close to $50 at the corner drugstore just because I got the sniffles.

Sure, the makeup and eggs could have waited. But sometimes you need over-the-counter meds, and you must get prescriptions filled. Here are a few ways to save.

  1. Consider generic drugs. The Federal Drug Administration released a study showing that drug costs per day can fall by 14 to 16 percent if patients use generics instead of branded drugs, depending on medical needs. If you can use generics for all your needs, you may see your drug bill slashed by 52 percent in the daily cost of medications, the study says.
  2. Participate in pharmacy loyalty rewards programs. Major drugstores have amped up efforts to attract and keep customers by promoting loyalty programs. Such programs are typically free to join and offer various discounts and rewards points for dollars spent at their stores.
  3. Compare prices. The American Society of CPAs recommends shopping around pharmacy to pharmacy. Some drugstores may match the best price you find in the area.
  4. Look for coupons. Your doctor may have some in his desk drawer from pharmaceutical sales reps. Otherwise, search pharmaceutical websites, newspapers, and magazines, suggests The American Society of CPAs.
  5. Take advantage of any discounts. Texas Farm Bureau members have access to discount prescription programs. Learn more here.