The price for some prescription drugs – particularly brand names without a generic equivalent – can run into the hundreds of dollars for a 30-day supply. But even if you don't have health insurance, there are options to obtain reduced-price or even free prescription drugs.
Patient assistance programs
Major pharmaceutical companies have created patient assistance programs that provide free or reduced-price prescriptions to eligible individuals.
Generally, you must not have private health insurance. You also must be ineligible for government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare and meet certain income guidelines. You can find patient assistance programs by talking to your doctor or calling the pharmaceutical company directly.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) can also help you identify assistance programs. Sponsored by pharmaceutical research companies and supported by groups such as the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Cancer Society, the PPA serves as a clearinghouse of information for 475 public and private patient assistance programs.
To locate a program for your medications, search listings online at the PPA website or call the PPA toll-free at 1-888-4PPA-NOW.
Pharmacy programs and your physician
Major nationwide retailers (Wal-Mart, Target) and regional chains (Kroger, Publix, Meijer) also offer low-cost or free prescription drugs. Generic medications often are available for just a few dollars to customers nationwide.
If all else fails, talk to your physician. Many doctors have a stock of samples provided by pharmaceutical companies that they can distribute to their patients as they see fit.