May 4, 2020 — 6 a.m. EST

If you lost your job and your health insurance because of COVID-19, your life (and your health) might be very hard to manage right now. Aside from being able to afford basic necessities like groceries, electricity, and mortgage or rent payments, if you have a chronic illness like diabetes, high blood pressure, or even depression you might be wondering how to pay for essential medication when money is tight and lack of insurance means paying prescription premiums.

No one should have to choose between life-saving medication and putting food on the table. On May 4, 2020 Dr. Oz provided ways to access your essential prescriptions for less, and how to get medication at discounted prices.

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Talk to Your Doctor

Check with your doctor to see if they could prescribe an alternative medication that would be cheaper. Sometimes, generic versions of medications are available and cost less than brand names. Generic medication is not less effective or unsafe; it's cheaper because several companies can sell the same generic drug, but brand-name medications are usually sold by a single manufacturer. However, generics are not always identical swaps, which is why it’s important to check with your doctor to see if that’s an option for your specific medication.

If talking to your doctor doesn’t provide viable solutions, call the drug manufacturer to ask for assistance. “Many companies are offering patient assistance programs for those who can’t afford their medications right now,” says Dr. Oz. To find out who manufactures your prescription, check the label or call your pharmacy to inquire.

Online Prescription Assistance Programs

During this difficult time, many companies and drug manufacturers are offering patient/prescription assistance programs (PAP), which provide financial assistance to those who need drugs that they cannot afford. You can apply for these programs through websites like HealthWell Foundation, myAbbVie Assist, NeedyMeds, and RXHope. Each program has an application to see if you qualify for aid.

Search for Discount Coupons

Believe it or not there are coupons for prescriptions. Websites like GoodRX, RetailMeNot and WebMD are just a few that offer prescription discount coupons as well as price comparisons. “My trusted partners at Sharecare have launched SharecareRX to help you compare prices, get free coupons, and save up to 80% at your pharmacy,” recommends Dr. Oz. This tool can help you compare drug prices and get free coupons. Additionally, you can print out a free savings card which can help you get discounts at your local pharmacy too.

“It’s important to keep taking your medications during this time. Your health is your best weapon right now,” says Dr. Oz. This is not an easy time for anyone and those who need life-saving medications should be able to access them. Hopefully one of the solutions provided can give you the assistance you need. If you are in distress in any way due to the circumstances of the pandemic, helplines like 211 provide free and confidential information through calls or texts to support you during this difficult time.


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