Please help me find cheap prescription meds.
March 10, 2012 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Please help me lower the cost of my prescription meds.

I have recently been prescribed Adderall for ADD. My doc gave me a script for 60 days Adderall 10mg XR (2 pills per day). I took this to the pharmacy and was told that the cost for this prescription is (approx.) $360/month. THIS IS INSANE. I have full BCBS health insurance through my job. Unfortunately, it is a deeply crappy health insurance plan that doesn't cover anything until I have met my annual deductable of $2000. I have prescription coverage through Medco and I called them today to confirm that I do indeed need to meet the deductable before they pay for anything. I also have an HSA that I contribute the max amount to (around $167/month, pretax) which is currently at about $1000. The lady I spoke to at Medco said that maybe there were other alternatives and I should talk to my doc. She said that the regular Adderall tabs were much cheaper than the extended release ones at like $40/month. I have left a message with my doc to see if this would be a viable option and am waiting to hear back.

In the meantime, could someone please let me know if I have any other alternatives? I have lived out of the country for quite some time and have no idea anymore how health care works here. $360 a month for an ongoing prescription seems fucking shocking, to say the least. But the lady at Medco said that was one of the LESS expensive ones!! Does anyone know if I can order this online for cheaper? I've heard of people getting their scripts filled through Canada, but googling cheap prescription meds is a mess, as you can imagine. Can anyone give me any viable, legit options for a person with a prescription who has to pay for their own meds to get them for a realistic price? I make $61k/year if it helps. Absolutely ANY advice would be much appreciated, thanks.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you in a city that has a Costco? You can use the pharmacy there without a membership, and at a certain point in my life I found that a medicine I needed was about 50% less there than it was at a regular pharmacy.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:37 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

well, $61/k is too much too qualify you for any of the prescription assistance programs that I'm aware of (some of the big pharma give their big drugs to poor folk for free if they jump through certain hoops and have a really low income. not sure what it is, but it's a helluva lot lower than what you're making).

i have ordered drugs from canada. it is easy. you have to vet the site though. has been helpful to me in the past. i just checked the 2 pharmacies i have used reliably in the past however and neither of them recognize adderall. perhaps because of the type of drug it is they simply don't offer it (like tylenol 3, valium, etc.)

i was going to suggest taking the non xr version, but see the pharmacist did that. you have to be vigilant about taking it though to get the decent results (at least in my experience with xr vs. sr drugs, not adderall specifically).

can you perhaps get some samples from the doc to see if it at least WORKS for you before you start shelling out for it? that's what i hate the most is spending money on drugs that don't work and then having bottles of them piling up that i can't do anything with.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 3:42 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Definitely check around, pharmacy prices are vastly, vastly different. Costco is cheapest for the most commonly Rx'd meds.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:44 PM on March 10, 2012

You should ask your doctor to go through your medication options - especially if the Adderall is a new idea. Starting out with an expensive, hard-to-find drug is not what you want to do when paying for your meds out of pocket.
posted by SMPA at 4:19 PM on March 10, 2012

Absolutely make sure you call every pharmacy between you and the places you go often. Just say you need to know the price of a prescription. They'll ask you the name and dose and how many tablets you need.

I recently did this myself. My pharmacy (rite aid) raised the price from $33 to $47. So I called around to walmart, target, cvs, sam's club (we don't have any costcos nearby), and my local grocery stores. Everyone was hovering between $40 and $50. Everyone but Sam's Club ($33) and Walmart ($35).

Because rite aid is the most convenient place for me, I went back there and was like, "hey.. Walmart will sell it to me for $35. Will you match their price?"

And they did! They called to confirm it with Walmart first, but other then that it was no problem at all.
posted by royalsong at 4:33 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Coming in to second Cosco. My housemate takes rather a lot of medications. One of them was $160 at the local Rite-Aid for a three-month prescription; Costco was $19. If you call and ask, even without a membership, they'll answer questions. They also have a prescription program that can cut the costs lower.

At that, the cost of the membership is worth it.
posted by mephron at 4:52 PM on March 10, 2012

The plain non-XR type should be MUCH cheaper and even available as a generic with some different name. With 2 pills per day dosing this difference should have no difference in effect**. Your doctor and your pharmacy should have explained the differences and the differences in cost.

($360/month is enough to cause the problem it is supposedly for. imho)

The plain generic doesn't seem to be on the Walmart $4 list, but I bet it will be much cheaper, maybe $25 for the 60 pills. Just a slightly informed guess.

**(I am not a doctor or anything close.)
posted by caclwmr4 at 4:59 PM on March 10, 2012

Were you recently diagnosed with ADD, or did you recently switch to Adderall XR? If you were just diagnosed with ADD, I would talk to your psychiatrist about whether it would be appropriate for you to try cheaper drug first - Ritalin used to be on Wal-Mart's $4 list, though I'm not sure if it still is.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:19 PM on March 10, 2012

Costco was amazingly less expensive on one scrip I had, and if it was written for three months instead of one month, it's like they almost gave me the stuff. But it was a medication that had generics and what I bought from them was a generic.

I'm not a doc but I agree with everyone in here, call your shrink and ask if there is a reason why you cannot try a different drug that has gone generic. Drug companies LOVE to come up with new formulations of medications so that they can get us in the neck, and while I think docs are becoming more aware that many of us are not money machines, your doc might respond to a reminder from you.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:07 PM on March 10, 2012

There is a generic form of Adderall XR, in addition to a generic form of plain non-XR Adderall. I don't know the price differential between the two generic forms, but just as an example, I would have to pay ~$50/mo for my generic non-XR Adderall out of pocket. I know the XR version costs more, even in generic form, but not as much as the brand name.

There has been a significant price increase - there was a shortage last year with lots of finger-pointing involved.
posted by clerestory at 1:55 AM on March 11, 2012

There's a pretty useful website to quickly check drug prices. I like it because you can quickly see which versions/doses of a drug are cheaper. Sometimes there are huge differences that seem silly, like it's a quarter of the price to buy double the half-dose drug than to buy the full-dose one. It also compares local drugstores to mail order drugstores, and there are shocking price differences there too.

For me Costco consistently came out on top. You don't have to be a member to use their pharmacy and they have mail order service as well as local service so no local is not a barrier.

Your doctor may have no idea which drugs cost what - mine didn't. So you bring the price info and then they can tailor their drug recommendations around it.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:07 PM on March 11, 2012

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