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The Cost of Medication Is Rising This Year. Here’s How You Can Save

Adult person using laptop and looking at a prescription medication bottle.

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A big reason many employers have a practice of raising pay at the start of the year is that living costs tend to rise from one year to the next. And the cost of medication is no exception.

NPR reports that drug companies typically raise their prices at the beginning of a new year, and so far, that seems to be the case for 2024. And according to drug price nonprofit 46Brooklyn Research, there were at least 600 price hikes in January alone.

The problem, of course, is that while it may be possible to cut back on leisure spending and even things like groceries and gas to some degree, cutting back on medication is much trickier. If there are pills you need daily, well, not taking them daily could negatively affect your health. So if rising medication costs are impacting your personal finances for the worse, here’s what to do.

1. Switch to generics if possible

Many medications these days have a generic version that can be worlds cheaper than the name brand version. If you’re currently taking the latter, see if the former is an option for you. Do be advised, though, that in some cases, a switch to generics may result in a different dose. That’s not necessarily a problem, but it’s something you may want to discuss with your doctor.

2. Order your meds in bulk

Ordering medication in bulk isn’t just convenient. In some cases, it could save you money. Many insurers offer a discount on 90-day supplies you order by mail or pick up at your local pharmacy, so it pays to see if your doctor is willing to write that bulk prescription. In many cases, your provider can simply submit that request electronically so it’s fulfilled by your health plan’s mail-order pharmacy. In that case, you do nothing but wait for a package to show up at your door.

3. Look outside a traditional pharmacy

If your health insurance plan isn’t great, or you don’t have insurance (which is not a good thing at all, but it’s also a different discussion), then it could pay to look outside a traditional pharmacy for getting your medications. Amazon Pharmacy, for example, offers a host of low-cost medications. And its RxPass program allows Prime members to pay just $5 a month for unlimited covered prescriptions.

4. Don’t be shy about requesting free samples

Pharmaceutical companies commonly give medical offices free samples of their products in an attempt to drum up business. If you’re struggling to cover your prescription costs, open up to your provider about that. Chances are, if they have a sample of the medication you’re taking in stock, they’ll be happy to hand it over rather than have it sit on a shelf and expire. Even if that only results in one-time savings, that’s better than no savings at all.

It’s unfortunate that medication costs tend to rise from year to year. But so do many expenses. Thankfully, you can take these steps to potentially lower your costs — and help ensure that you don’t have to compromise your health due to financial constraints.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Maurie Backman has positions in Amazon. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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