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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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High Cost of Medications
April 2000

Q. What can I do about the high cost of medications?

A. The high cost of medication affects many Americans, especially those on a fixed budget. There are several things you can do to try to limit this expense. First, have your doctor carefully review all of your medications. Oftentimes I have seen patients are two medications in the same class. This is because two doctors may have prescribed similar medications without knowing it. You'd often be able to stop one of them.

Second, for most medications the generic form will work just as well as the proprietary form. Ask your doctor if this might work for you.

Third, consider an older medication. For example, many of the older medications work just as well (or almost as well) as the newer medications but cost a mere fraction the amount. The older medication, which is usually must less expensive, may be all you need. (Remember, only a few years ago it was all we had and patients did quite well!) Finally, with the upcoming election look at the candidate's plans for Medicare coverage of prescription drugs.

As of today, both plans are much different. Find the one that would be best for you. You may decide to consider this on election day. (While I cannot vouch for this organization, I did find a web site that claims to help those who have a hard time affording prescription medication. If you are interested, check it out at http://www.themedicineprogram.com/.Again, I am not certain of the quality of this vendor.)

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