Comparison shopping has become an exercise of necessity where the potential buyer compares prices on everything from bread to gas to insurance — and the results have proven financially beneficial, but for some reason, comparison shopping for drugs is not done as often as it is for other items.

It will be to your advantage to comparison shop when you are purchasing medicine. If you do, you are going to be surprised at the difference in the prices quoted.

When your doctor gives you a prescription, look at it, and if you can’t read it, ask him to read it to you and you write it down or ask the doctor to print it. (If you are hesitant to do this, just remember that if you can’t read it, the pharmacist may not be able to read it either, besides you need to know what you are being prescribed.)

For some reason, too many people are intimated by their doctors, but there is no reason to treat them any different than you would any other professional who serves you. Certainly, respect is due as it would be to all people. All men and women are created equal.

A good doctor is one of your most valuable assets; keep searching until you find yours.

No doctor should resent any patient asking what is being prescribed. If he does show resentment, you might think about checking around for a doctor who took “patient treatment 101” in medical school.

Take the prescription home. Use your telephone. Comparison shop, checking with the large chains (such as Publix, Kroger, CVS, Walmart and others). Compare prices from your local home pharmacies (Our Home Pharmacy, Bubba’s, Freeman, Adams and others). Judge for yourself.

If the price is the same, consider using the home pharmacy that delivers; most home pharmacies will deliver your prescription at no cost to you.

When you are given a prescription, ask the doctor if the generic drug can be used. More often than not, the generic is acceptable and can save you a great deal of money.

The Hatch-Waxman legislation was able to make sure that the generic would do exactly  what the higher priced drug would do. The Hatch Waxman bill did legislate that both drugs be identical.

Lobbyists for the powerful pharmaceutical companies exert tremendous power in Washington so you can be sure legislation to make drugs more affordable will be slow to pass.

Warfarin is the generic for Coumadin, a widely used blood thinner. You can obtain a three months supply of five milligram Warfarin (90 pills if you take one a day) for around $10.

You will pay approximately $145 for the same amount of five milligram Coumadin, which would be $135 more expensive.

Not all drugs are included on the $10 discount for a three-month supply but on the list.

Unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you, then you would probably never know the following. If you take two and a half milligram of Coumadin, buy the five milligram pill and half it.

The two and a half milligram sells for approximately $1.55 each, while the five milligram sells for about $1.62 each. By buying the five milligram and splitting it, you can see what a saving this would be.  Of course, an even greater saving would be to use Warfarin instead of Coumadin and pay only $10).

The profit made by the pharmaceutical corporations is obscene, especially when you know that this profit is made off of the sick and the poor. It is not uncommon to hear of someone not having enough money to pay for his medicine, especially the older citizens.

Checking on your drug costs is a smart thing to do. Surely you can think of something better to do with that money than making the drug companies richer.


Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .