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Cutting Health Care Costs: Drugs

11 Tips on Trimming Prescription Drug Costs Without Compromising Your Health
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9. Don't store pills incorrectly.

Heat, moisture, and darkness can "reduce the potency of the medication," says Zive, who warns against storing pills in bathroom medicine chests because of the heat and moisture in bathrooms.

"What would happen if you spent, say, either $100 on medications or $50 on a co-pay and you open up the vial and the medicines are all clumped together from moisture?" Zive asks.

10. Don't share pills or save pills.

Sharing pills is a no-no, even if it's with a relative.

"People do ask me, 'Can I give this to my brother for a headache? It worked for me.' Well, maybe 80% of the time, that would be fine, but the 20% of the time it could be a disaster, so I would not normally condone that," Zive says.

What if you have pills left over and you get the same illness again? It's not a great idea to use those pills again without checking with your doctor, because that drug may no longer be right for you or you may have developed another condition that your doctor needs to know about.

"You could be doing more damage than saving a few dollars," Zive says.

11. Be careful with promotions for expensive drugs.

If your doctor gives you a card offering a one-time deal on an expensive prescription drug, you might want to remember that that deal won't help you if you refill that prescription.

Zive says he cautioned a customer about that recently when she used a promotional card to cover her co-pay for an expensive steroid cream. Zive says he asked her, "What about next time? You're going to have to pay for it."

Such promotions are "a good marketing tool, and I'm certainly not putting that down, but I think what you have to be careful of is what seems like a great deal for free or inexpensive medication may or may not be," Zive says.

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