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How to Save Money on Your Cancer Medications

Saving Money at the Pharmacy

Even if you receive your chemo at a clinic, you'll likely have at least a few medications you'll need to purchase from a pharmacy. Here are a few of our best money-saving tips at the pharmacy:
  • Use generic medications when they are available.
  • If no generics are available, ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether other similar medications, available in generic form, might be suitable alternatives.
  • Figure out how to use your insurance company's drug formulary. This is a list of which medications are covered at which "tier."
  • Always remember to bring your insurance card to the pharmacy.
  • For expensive brand-name drugs, check the manufacturer's Web site for coupons that can be combined with your insurance (they can't be combined with federally funded programs like Medicaid or Medicare, though).
  • Use a discount card (you know the ones you keep seeing in magazines and in the mail?) for medications that are not covered by insurance (these cards cannot be combined with insurance).
  • Ask your pharmacist if splitting pills would save money and would be safe (sometimes, it doesn't save any money and sometimes isn't safe).
  • Many drugs are available both over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription. Sometimes, it's cheaper to go OTC; sometimes it isn't. Ask your pharmacist.
Here is our number-one tip for saving money at the pharmacy: Choose a pharmacy that can provide you with ample, personalized attention. The insanely busy pharmacy that is a few dollars cheaper may not be willing or able to take the time necessary to help you sort through your options, compared to a slower, slightly more expensive pharmacy. Also, try to choose a time and day that will be quieter (if you're not sure, just ask a pharmacy employee).
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