Consumer Reports: Paying less for prescription drugs

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A recent Consumer Reports survey of people who take prescription medications found that high drug costs are forcing some of them to cut back on groceries, delay their retirement, or even take a second job.

But there are some simple ways to save on the drugs you need.

Americans spend more money on drugs than people in any other country. And while Philly Health Costs, our partnership with the Philadelphia Inquirer, provides real prices for medical procedures and services, Consumer Reports has ways to save money on your prescription drugs.

RELATED: Philly Health Costs: Navigating Health Care Pricing

When Tami Alpert went to buy a pair of EpiPens for her daughter's allergies, she was taken aback by the price - close to $400 dollars.

"I left the pharmacy having not purchased it so that I could talk about it with my husband and figure out what we were gonna do," she said.

Tami is not alone. In the survey, 30% of those facing a rising drug cost told Consumer Reports they didn't fill the prescription. So how can you reduce your costs?

First, ask your doctor whether you still need all the medicine you're taking. In an earlier survey, Consumer Reports found 70% of people who asked if they could cut down on their meds were able to eliminate at least one drug.

If a drug IS necessary, ask your doctor about the cost.

"Don't be afraid to take the lead on this. Asking your doctor for a cheaper alternatives can save you money. And using generics can save you up to 85%," said Lisa Gill, Consumer Reports.

Tip 3: Think 90-day supply. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, you can save money by getting a 90-day prescription from your doctor.

Finally, always ask your pharmacist: 'What's the lowest possible price you can offer?' That's what Tami did.

"A few hours later my pharmacist called me back and said that he had actually gone and done his own research and found additional coupons and that he was able to bring the price down - I think it was $147 or $148 dollars. I felt so relieved," she said.

And get this - Consumer Reports secret shoppers called more than 150 pharmacies to compare prices and found the cost of the same prescription can vary by hundreds of dollars even in the same town, so call around to get the best price.

Finally, don't forget to check Philly Health Costs before you schedule your next medical test or procedure.

Philly Health Costs

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