7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications

When Kyle Willis walked into the emergency room in 2011, he was diagnosed with a severe tooth infection. Doctors gave him prescriptions for both antibiotics and painkillers and sent him home. But on a tight budget and with no insurance, he could only afford to get one prescription. In excruciating pain, he opted for the painkillers.

Days later, the infection spread to his brain, and Willis died from the infection.

Willis' case highlighted a major problem millions of people face each day. Medications can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you sometimes have to make the choice between filling a prescription or skipping rent or other necessary bills.

But there are programs in place that can help. Below are free resources that can help you save money on your medicines. (See also: 9 Ways to Save on Prescriptions)

Discount Prescription Programs

There are several nationwide discount prescription savings programs available to the public, regardless of your income.

1. FamilyWize

FamilyWize is a free program where you can download or print off a discount card and use it at any major pharmacy. Use the card if you do not have insurance, or if your insurance will not cover a particular medicine. Just ask the pharmacist to run the card's information. On average, you can save 43% on your prescriptions.

2. WebMDRX

Like FamilyWize, the WebMDRX discount savings card is free for anyone to use. It can be used at 60,000 pharmacies nationwide and can be shared with friends and family. Just show the card to the pharmacist when you drop off your prescription to get the discount.

Pharmaceutical Programs

Major pharmaceutical companies offer special programs for people who cannot afford their brand name medications. Millions of people qualify each year to receive free medicines directly from the manufacturer. Below are just a few programs available from major companies. Check out the manufacturer of your medications to see if they offer similar programs.

3. AZ&Me

AstraZeneca, the maker of major drugs like Nexium, Crestor, Symbicort, and more, offers the AZ&Me program for people who cannot afford their medications. Last year, the program helped 286,000 people get access to medicine they otherwise couldn't afford.

The program is designed to help people who do not have insurance, those in Medicare Part D, and those who have recently undergone a financial crisis, such as a job loss. To find out more about the program or to find out if you're eligible, call 1-800-AZandME (292-6363).

4. Merck Helps

Merck, the creator of drugs like Dulera, Gardasil, and Singulair, helps people get the medications they need through the Merck Helps program.

To qualify for the program, you must be a United States resident and have a valid prescription. You must not have any insurance coverage and be unable to afford your medications. According to their site, you may qualify for assistance if you make less than $47,520 as an individual, under $64,080 for couples, or $97,200 or less for a family of four.

5. Pfizer

As one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country, Pfizer is known as the creator of major drugs like Lipitor and Zoloft. But it also runs a Patient and Prescription Assistance Program that helps people receive medicine for free or at a significant discount. If you need help getting a specific Pfizer medication, their website Pfizer RxPathways can help you find different options and navigate the process.

6. Drug Coupons

When your doctor prescribed you a new medicine, she may have handed you a manufacturer coupon along with the prescription. But what you may not have known is that those coupons are not just for doctors to hand out; customers can access them, too.

If you are on any brand name drug, rather than a generic medication, check out the drug's website. Many times the manufacturer will offer a special discount card or savings program that will drop the cost.

For example, Fetzima is a relatively new drug for depression. And even with insurance, it can be pricey. But if you go on the Fetzima website, you can get a savings card where eligible patients can buy the drug for as little as $10 a month. Just print the card and bring it to the pharmacy when you pick up the prescription to get the discount.

7. Comparison Shop

Not all pharmacies are created equal. One pharmacy may charge much more for the same drug than another pharmacy, even if they're within just a few blocks of each other. GoodRX is a resource you can use to comparison shop for the best deal before you leave your home. It will tell you what each drug will cost at different pharmacies and if there are any coupons available.

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7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications

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