7 Ways to Save Money on Meds

Published: August 16, 2011

With all the doctor appointments and wellness activities we engage in, living with HIV/AIDS can be a full-time job. And the truth is, it doesn’t pay very well. We’ve all been feeling the pinch of tough economic times. So I hope you’ll find some savings in this new video blog, “7 Ways to Save Money on Meds.”
Jason King, a pharmacy specialist and patient advocate at AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Ft Lauderdale, was kind enough to give me a tour of their “Out of the Closet” thrift store and then sit down to discuss ways to save money that your pharmacist might not be telling you.

Most of these tips, by the way, can also apply to medications which are not HIV specific. And we have even included a tip just for our HIV-negative friends. I’m an equal opportunity money saver!

I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about co-pay assistance cards, a program in which the pharmaceutical picks up your co-pay costs. It’s a simple program to use without any income restrictions, and you can save up to $400 per year per medication! Fabulous. Your pharmacy or physician should have cards for you, or Google your medication along with “co-pay assistance” and you should find cards or information to print out.
Specialty pharmacies are a smart move these days. They focus on a particular disease, like HIV, but provide a full spectrum of medications like other pharmacies. The difference is usually service: their technicians are trained in HIV and know more about interactions, for instance, and they are more likely to point out savings opportunities like co-pay cards and patient assistance programs.
When I recently chose a new pharmacy, I went to a specialty pharmacy and just asked them, what can you do for me that Walgreens doesn’t? A lot, as it turns out. They offered free delivery and free shipping anywhere in the continental U.S., and they said they would provide free supplements with a prescription from my doctor! I made the switch, and along with my HIV meds, they provide my vitamins and fish oil at no charge. It pays to ask about perks.

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