From CNN Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis
Whether you're insured or not, the cost of prescription drugs is a serious problem. In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, it was found that nearly 30 percent of adults say they hadn't filled a prescription because of the cost and about a quarter of people polled had split pills in two or skipped doses to make the medicine last longer. But there are ways that you can slash your prices. Some stores have discount pharmacy services.
For example, Kmart pharmacies have a 90 day generics program for $15, available anywhere in the country where there's a Kmart pharmacy.
Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's pharmacies often have competitive prices and membership is not required to use the pharmacy services.
And don't forget that the internet is a great tool for comparing prices.
Compare RX costs
One word of caution here: beware of fly-by-night sites, where your risk of getting counterfeit or tainted drugs rises. Look for sites that carry the "VIPPS" seal – it stands for verified internet pharmacy practice site -and is awarded by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
Other ways to score a discount?
Think about drug discount cards. They're available from state governments, membership associations, non-profit organizations, and for-profit businesses. You may be able to save anywhere from 15 to 50 percent on certain medicines. Now, keep in mind that the cards may have annual fees that range from $30 to $60 per family or up to $9 a month.
Discount drug cards
And keep in mind there may be income requirements.
If you are uninsured or have no drug coverage, be sure to tell your doctor. You may be able to get a healthy dose of samples. And think about pharmacy assistance programs. You may qualify for free or low-cost medicines. These are run mostly by drug companies. Keep in mind that you many have stringent income cut-offs at around $20,000 for a family.
Pharmacy assistance programs