Lowering the Costs of Asthma Treatment
Asthma treatment has made great strides, but good care is costly. Here are ways to get some help.
Safer Ways to Lower Drug Costs
Medications are the biggest expense for people with asthma, says Bernstein.
But there are ways of lowering your cost.
- Ask your health care provider and your pharmacist about taking generic
medicines instead of brand name drugs. Although there are a limited number of
generic asthma medicines available, they can be substantially cheaper, says
- If you have health insurance, look into mail order prescription plans,
recommends Bernstein. "You can sometimes save quite a bit of money with
mail order," Bernstein tells WebMD. "For instance, you might get three
prescriptions for the price of two."
- Edelman says that in some cases, using older and out-of-fashion medicines
may be a good idea. "When I have a patient who is in especially difficult
financial circumstances, I rely on drugs that many physicians no longer
use," Edelman says. He says that while dyphylline may have greater side
effects than newer drugs, it works well and is inexpensive. In some cases, he
also uses the oral corticosteroid prednisone. "It's a very good asthma drug
and it's very cheap," he says, "However, the side effects are
substantial if you use it for a long time."
- You could also ask your health care providers for free samples of
prescription drugs. While it is not a long-term solution, it could help you
make it through a particularly difficult stretch.
Asthma Drug Assistance Programs
People with low incomes can get help with medical bills in various ways.
Thirty-two state governments have programs that help pay for drugs for people
who don't qualify for Medicaid. However, many are only open to seniors.
Another option is to get assistance directly from pharmaceutical companies.
Many of them have programs that give free medicine to eligible people.
The requirements vary from program to program. For instance,
GlaxoSmithKline's "Bridges to Access" program sets the income cap at
$25,000 for single people or 250% of the federal poverty limit for families.
The AstraZeneca Foundation's Patient Assistance Program gives free medicines to
eligible single people who make $18,000 or less or couples who make $24,000 or