Saving Money on Prescription Drugs

By Meadows, Michelle | FDA Consumer, September-October 2005 | Go to article overview

Saving Money on Prescription Drugs


Meadows, Michelle, FDA Consumer


* Generic Drugs

* Communicating with Your Doctor

* Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

* Price Differences for Generics in the U.S. and Canada

* U.S./Canadian Price Comparisons

* Assistance from Pharmaceutical Companies

* Quick Tips

* Resources

Many Americans have been buying prescription drugs from foreign countries as a way to cut costs, but experts at the Food and Drug Administration warn that this practice comes with potential safety risks. The safety and effectiveness of imported drugs have not been reviewed by the FDA, and their identity and potency can't be assured. Patients could get the wrong drug. Or they could get too little or too much of the right drug. All of these differences can be dangerous.

"When Americans import medicines illegally or buy medicines online from unreliable sources, they are faced with a dangerous buyer-beware situation," says FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D. "The FDA understands why people who are having a hard time paying for prescription drugs might do this. We have been expanding our generic drug program to help make more affordable prescription drugs available. This is one solution that does not put consumers at risk."

The FDA doesn't regulate drug prices, but agency experts recognize that the inability to access needed medication because of high prices is a serious public health issue. For this reason, the FDA has enhanced the process for the review and approval of generic drugs, and has taken steps to eliminate roadblocks that keep generics off the market. In 2004, the FDA approved 413 generic drugs, 320 full approvals and 93 tentative approvals. In 1999, the agency approved 266 generic drugs, 198 and 68, respectively. Tentative approval means that the product meets the FDA's standards, but can't yet be marketed because of existing patents or temporary government restrictions against competing products.

Generic drugs have exactly the same active ingredients and effects as brand-name drugs, but they can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less.

Consumers also can save money on prescription drugs by becoming smart shoppers and knowing what to discuss with their doctor or pharmacist. Having discussions on whether a less expensive drug will work, comparing prices among U.S. pharmacies in the area or online, and finding out about assistance programs and how to qualify can help.

"The FDA also encourages consumers to learn about potential savings through Medicare's outpatient prescription drug coverage," Crawford says. "This new program comes at a time when five out of six people aged 65 and older are taking at least one medication, and almost half of all elderly people take three or more."

Medicare is the national health insurance program for people ages 65 and older and for people of all ages who have certain disabilities. In January 2006, the 43 million people in Medicare will--for the first time-be eligible for prescription drug coverage as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA).

The new coverage will give substantial help to beneficiaries in paying for prescription drugs, regardless of their income or how they pay for health care now, according to Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). "The MMA also gives Medicare the ability to provide additional comprehensive help to those in greatest need--beneficiaries with very high prescription drug costs and people with low incomes," he says. On average, people with limited incomes who qualify for extra help will save about 95 percent on prescription drug costs, according to CMS spokesman Gary Karr.

Medicare has offered discount drug cards since June 2004 as a temporary measure until the Medicare benefit begins in January. The cards have made possible a discount of 10 percent to 25 percent off regular prescription drug prices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Saving Money on Prescription Drugs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.