For several years in a row, drug prices have shown enviable stability, and, in 2020-2021, they increased considerably. Available programs are an opportunity to save on the purchase of medications. In addition, there are so many aspects to buy affordable medications either online or offline.
Let’s consider the main methods on how to save on medicines.
Savings methods on medicines
While prices have risen across all pharmacies, customers still have a few common ways to save on drugs.
Method#1: Monitor prices
The first of them is to look for pharmacies with cheaper medications. A month ago, one drug could differ in various pharmacies at a price twice or more. Now, due to the fact that the process of price reduction has already begun, and also due to the fact that many buyers have learned to look for where it is cheaper. The indicators have returned to pre-crisis, and the difference is not so striking. If we consider the prices of the drugs, then the same drug can be 1/2 times more expensive in one pharmacy than in another. In monetary terms, the difference can be up to tens of dollar or more.
If you live in a small town, then you can find where the medicine you need is cheaper by calling the key pharmacies of your town. Residents of large cities can search in which pharmacy the drug is cheaper using special online services – for example:
- other resources.
On similar sites, you can compare prices in different pharmacies and choose where the drug costs less. Some services not only provide the price of the drug and pharmacy contacts, but also the exact date and time when the data on the drug was updated. In this case, it is imperative to call the selected pharmacies and clarify whether the price is still valid – whether there is still a product of this rate in stock. Some pharmacists agree to defer low cost medications until you arrive. You will need this in cases where only one drug remains from a certain batch.
Pay attention: prices within one pharmacy vary significantly. One and the same branch can have both the cheapest medicines in the city and the most expensive ones. Therefore, if you have enough time, you can buy the drugs you need at a lower price by visiting several pharmacies or order medicines online.
Method#2: Choose a domestic manufacturer
Many foreign medicines have domestic counterparts. You can ask about their availability both from the doctor who writes the prescription out, and directly from the pharmacist.
It is noteworthy that if earlier in many pharmacy chains there were mainly foreign drugs, today, in response to the crisis, many pharmacies have adjusted their assortment, and now it is much easier to find domestic drugs.
Choosing a domestic manufacturer will help you save a lot more than all other available saving methods.
Method#3: Treat the cause, not the symptom
Expensive medicines are the best way to contribute to the demand for quality service from doctors. Why does the doctor prescribe certain drugs; they cure – or only relieve symptoms; how long they will have to be taken; what caused the disease and how you can affect it. Address a doctor achieving the best outcome in therapy.
Instead of taking tons of heartburn pills, with no hope that it will ever stop appearing and you can do without medication to relieve discomfort, it is better to think about its causes and try to eliminate them.
5 facts about prices in US and Canadian pharmacies: looking for ways to save money
Fact#1: there are no “expensive” and “cheap” pharmacies
The first thing a buyer will encounter after receiving a large list of medicines from a doctor is the price difference in different pharmacies. Moreover, in the same pharmacy, the price of one drug can be much higher than the market average, while the other drug will be sold relatively cheap. This means that choosing a “cheap” pharmacy and going there with a list of medicines in practice is not something that is not easy, but sometimes impossible.
The fact is that pharmacies are limited in their ability to control the price by changing their own margin. The markup of a pharmacy is its costs plus profit. Each pharmacy has its own markup rate, below which it cannot fall. This is what determines its competitiveness in the market.
Reducing the margin below the acceptable level will not allow the pharmacy to function normally. The maximum levels of markups are regulated and depend on the mass of factors. The upper limit of the markup is set by the decision of the regional administrations, so in each region it is different: from 30 to 80%. In fact, the average pharmacy markup is within 25%.
Fact#2: there may be different prices even for one product in one pharmacy
There are frequent cases when in different pharmacies of the same network the same drug is sold at different prices. The secret is simple: the price depends on the purchase batch of the goods.
Even in one pharmacy, one drug at different prices can be at the same time. One batch of a drug can be purchased profitably, and when they bought the next, there was no such price, and in order to avoid rejections, they bought it as it is. Or vice versa – it was an expensive drug, but now a favorable price appears on the market, of course there is a deal. It is unreal to overestimate in order to bring it to a single price, therefore each batch is sold at its own price.
Therefore, if you need several packs of medicine, you may well face a situation when in one pharmacy you will be offered them at different prices.
Fact#3: the price depends on the supplier, not the pharmacy itself
It is not always worth blaming a pharmacy for setting sky-high prices for a particular drug. This is most often the result of a high wholesale price from the supplier. The lion’s share of the drug’s cost is its wholesale price. If you buy expensive and mark up the minimum, your price will still not be competitive. Therefore, it is very important to purchase the drug profitably.
Of course, the role of the pharmacy in this process cannot be nullified either. The professionalism of the person involved in the purchase matters. In one network, this is done by a person with a professional flair, knowledge of the market, assortment, and in the other – a random person who buys with no knowledge at all.
Fact#4: price is not always important
Given the above, the only obvious way to save money when buying drugs is to look for the best prices for different drugs at different pharmacies. But, as practice shows, this method is not suitable for everyone. More often, it is more important for a person to buy everything in one pharmacy than to wander in search. Especially if a person has a long list of drugs, or a severe or emergency case or if he’s just busy. Therefore, sometimes a pharmacy prefers to have a drug at a disadvantageous price than not to have it at all.
If you still need to save money, but you don’t want to run to pharmacies, you can simply monitor the prices for your list of medicines through the online pharmacies.