How to Get Free Medication (for You and Your Pet)
As most of my regular readers know, I’m all about sharing pet hacks. No matter how frugal you try to be, owning a dog, cat, or other animal is far from free. Whether you are trying to travel affordably with your pet, offer them the best nutrition, or even make your own pet toys, there’s always a cost. One of the largest ones is veterinary access.
While we’re fortunate to have two amazing and affordable doctors at the animal hospital we use, ICU visits and surgeries come with a significant price tag. So do chronic medical conditions requiring ongoing medication and doggie vacations requiring sedatives to deal with separation anxiety issues at the hotel.
So when a recent attack by a stray dog required our pup to be on a several-week course of antibiotics, we were thrilled when our vet told us they could phone in a prescription to one of our local grocery store pharmacies and that we would then be able to pick up later for free.
That’s right. Free.
Even better, there are also free meds available for humans. Following is a list of tips as to how you can make this happen for you and your pet, provided in roughly the same order as things unfolded for us. (See also: Three Easy Pet Tips to Help Out on the Home Front)
How to Get the Free Medicine
Believe it or not, there really aren’t that many hoops to jump through. Once you get the initial requirements met, you’ll be free to pick up your free medication at the pharmacy.
See the Appropriate Doctor
For us, this was a doctor of veterinary medicine. For you, it might be a prenatal specialist or other medical practitioner. You need to have an appropriate diagnosis to establish a need for the subscription. It’s also important to know that not every single medication is available for free. There are a few common ones, however.
For instance, a number of antibiotics are offered at no cost by certain grocery store chains across the country. These antibiotics can typically be used for both human and animal patients, which is how we came to know about this beautiful bargain. Other common offerings include prenatal vitamins and certain diabetes medicines.
Coordinate Your Refills
Perhaps your situation will only require one round of antibiotics. If so, lucky you. Otherwise, you’ll likely need multiple refills on the prescription when you first receive it.
If your condition or your pet’s is such that you’ll need to have more than the standard three or four refills, then you’ll need to remain in close contact with the physician to get more called in when you need them. Whether or not you’ll need another follow up appointment will be up to the medical professional. Not you.
Where to Pickup Your Free Medication
Now that you’re ready and willing to try this free medical hack and start enjoying your savings, how do you know where to go? Randomly picking a grocery store chain and walking in expecting to be able to score some free meds with your prescription is setting yourself up for frustration. They may not even have a pharmacy, or they may not offer this type of program.
Do Some Preliminary Local Research
Check the websites of the grocery chains in your area that have pharmacies, or call them directly to find out. Giant Eagle, Meijer, and United Supermarkets are three specific retailers I’ve seen offer particular medicines at no cost. Do your homework to determine the nearest pharmacy you can use for this perk and then begin the process described above.
Ask Your Doctor or Office Staff
If you’re new to town or are handling an emergency on the road, chances are the professional you’re dealing with is aware of any local freebie options. So ask around, or use your tablet device if the office has WiFi. If there’s a program in town, why not take advantage of it, and use the savings towards a hotel room if you need to stay an extra night due to a hospital admittance?
While this particular hack doesn’t mean it’s open season at the pharmacy for every medicine on the market, it does provide significant savings for some of the common ones. Considering how often both furry and non-furry family members need antibiotics, this savings solution is worth exploring just for those meds alone. Granted, the retailers in question likely start these programs hoping you’ll drop off your prescription and shop while you wait. You can avoid the overspending trap by either having the order called in ahead of time or by planning a shopping trip to that store anyway to pick up only those items you need that are on sale.
Have you received free medication using a similar program? If so, what kind did you receive?