Medication: The Facts on Prescription, Over-the-Counter, and Herbal Medications
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It costs pharmaceutical companies millions of dollars to research medicines, get a prescription drug approved, and put it on the market. Consequently, prescriptions, especially newer ones, are often very expensive. For those without insurance coverage, the costs can seem especially overwhelming. But there are federal, state, and private programs available to help defray costs for those who are eligible.
- Medicare, the U.S. government-sponsored health care plan, has prescription drug coverage for people 65 and older. Younger people with disabilities may also qualify. To determine if you’re qualified, use Medicare’s contacts page to find the appropriate office to call in your state.
- Medicaid, a state-federal partnership, offers medical and prescription drug coverage for people who meet certain income guidelines. Those guidelines vary by state, so use the Medicaid contacts page to find your state’s office and learn more.
- Many pharmaceutical companies have programs to help people pay for prescription drugs. Visit the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a nonprofit organization that works with dozens of pharmaceutical companies, to see if you qualify.
- Some people use the Internet to buy medication. Be extremely careful when going online unless you’re ordering through a service your insurance company uses. Some insurance plans require you to use mail-order services such as Caremark that allow you to refill medication (with a prescription) over the phone or through a Web site.
- Ignore any “cheap drug” e-mail you may receive. The pills you order through these sites often aren’t regulated by the FDA and may be counterfeit. They could be ineffective or, even worse, harmful to you. If you’re having trouble paying for prescription drugs, rather than risk your safety on an untested product, use some of the sites below to find help.
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