Unfortunately, you are not alone. The high cost of prescription drugs is a nationwide problem faced by many. There are multiple reasons for this problem, but there are also several solutions.

First of all, there are many insurance plans that include prescription drug benefits. It might be in the form of a Medicare HMO, or what is referred to as a “Medigap” policy. Your insurance agent should guide you through these options. So, look into it.

If this does not work out, you should consider asking your doctor (or pharmacist) if a generic prescription is available for your drug. The price difference can be substantial and, most often, the quality of the drugs is comparable (by law, generics must be at least 95 percent as potent as the equivalent brand name).

Additionally, you might find that you can save money on prescriptions based on where you buy them. There are many “90-day mail-off” plans that offer significant savings. Even if you get your prescription locally, the price can vary tremendously from one pharmacy to another. So, shop around.

Next, there are more than 60 programs offering more than 800 medications free to those who qualify through the pharmaceutical companies that make these medications. The application process and eligibility requirements vary from company to company, but these “indigent prescription programs” are free medicine to those who are unable to afford them. The process involves paperwork (which most everyone hates to be bothered with) and the medicine must be shipped directly to your physician. Despite these drawbacks, it might be a good source of free medicine for you.

Last, and certainly not least, we in Baton Rouge are blessed to have the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy. Last year, more than 40,000 prescriptions were filled for the needy. You can call the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy at 383-7450 to check on your eligibility and availability of your medications, as well as pharmacy hours.

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