Page 16 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - March 2017 - 24-03
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Page 16 Senior Times - March 2017
By: Glin Winsor, Store Manager Walgreens
We all understand how important medications are to helping people stay well and that needed medications can be very expensive. Five out of six people aged 65 years of age or older are taking at least one medication. Half of all seniors take three or more medications; that’s five times more prescriptions than those aged 19-24.
Older adults will spend an average
of $5000 per year on their health care needs. This includes deductibles, copays, premiums, prescriptions, and other health care expenses not covered by insurance. This doubles to almost $8300 a year for adults 85 years of age or older.
There are steps you can take to control your prescription costs.
Your health care provider may not know how much you’re paying for the drugs prescribed. It is important to find the right medication for your health conditions. If
the medication is too expensive and it is not something you will be able to take, then it is not the right medication for you.
A Medication Record will help you have this discussion with your doctor and/or pharmacist. To help you to manage all your health condition and medication information, it is recommended by the FDA, medical and pharmacy organizations that you keep an
up to date Medication Record. This should contain information on:
• Health conditions and allergies.
• All prescription medicines – don’t forget
to include information on medications such as eye drops, creams or ointments, vaccines, and SAMPLES.
• Nonprescription medicines – remember to include vitamins, cough and cold products, sleep aids, pain medications, herbal products, and dietary. supplements such as glucosamine.
• What the medicine is used for and how to take it.
• Make a copy of the Medicine Record for your doctor, pharmacist, and loved ones.
• It is also important that you carry a current copy and have a copy at home. This way the record can share your information when you cannot.
• If anything in your medical history, or medications that you take, changes, make sure to update it and then share the updated list at your next visit with your health care provider.
Many drug plans place drugs into different “tiers” (or levels) on their formularies. Drugs in each tier have a different cost to the patient. The cost of each tier will depend on the
type and cost of the medication. In general
a drug in a lower tier will generally cost you less than a drug in a higher tier. To save on your medications when using your drug
plan coverage, work with your doctor or
pharmacist to find medications that will
help with your conditions that are in lower tiers of coverage in your drug plan formulary.
In some cases, it may be an option to try using an over-the-counter (OTC) medication before starting a prescription medication. There have been a number of prescription medications that have transitioned to
being available over-the-counter; these medications may be used for health conditions like allergies, acid reflux and arthritis. Buy the OTC medicines when
they are on sale. Check the expiration
dates and use them before they expire.
If available, purchase the house brand of the over-the-counter item, it will also be less costly than the brand name. If you are taking over-the-counter medications, they will not be included in your pharmacy records nor be screened for drug interactions.
You don’t have to pay for an expensive brand name drug if an equally effective generic is available. Almost 80% of FDA approved drugs have generic equivalents that cost an average of four times less than the brand name versions.
Generic drugs are as effective and safe as the brand name drugs they’re based on. They have the same active ingredients and must work the same way as their brand name counterparts to be approved by the FDA. That means they have the same risks and benefits, too.
The FDA estimates that generic drugs
cost 20 percent to 70 percent less than their brand name counterparts. Let your doctor
or pharmacist know that you want the most effective drug at the best price. Each state has a law allowing pharmacists to substitute generic drugs for many brand name products
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