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Tools help you save on prescriptions

Web site searches for deals on generic drugs nearby. Another program provides discount cards in many U.S. counties.

By Teresa Mears Jan 28, 2010 7:16PM

A Michigan company has come up with a new tool to help you find lower priced generic prescriptions near your home.


We all know that Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and various supermarkets offer low-cost generic prescriptions, many for $4 for a 30-day supply. But not all the stores offer the same deal on the same medications, so it can take some shopping around to find the best deal for you.


A company called MedTipster lets your fingers do the walking. You can put in the name of a drug, choose the formulation and dosage, then let the Web site find low-cost generics near your home. If there is no generic, it will tell you that, too. It will also suggest lower-priced alternative drugs.


The site also lets you compare the prices of immunizations at walk-in clinics and find health screenings in your area. They’re working on a database of coupons and assistance programs.


If you live in Michigan, you can enter to win free drugs, and that service will expand to the rest of the United States later this year.

Interestingly, the free prescription promotion came about because of a mistake made by the CEO, Jason A. Kline, when he started blogging, The Detroit News reported. The newbie blogger got a little overenthusiastic about some stores’ promotions offering free antibiotics, writing "We're all in!" The next day, he had more than 14,000 e-mails from customers asking how they could get free prescriptions.


Rather than print a correction, he decided to line up drug companies and pharmacies to participate in a free-drug promotion. The program began Dec. 1 in Michigan and has been extended to Jan. 31.

The MedTipster service is most useful for people who have no prescription drug coverage or who are paying for their prescriptions out-of-pocket, since it doesn’t take into account your insurance company’s co-pay for a particular drug. In many cases, you’re better off paying $4 out-of-pocket than your insurance company's co-pay for generics.


Another resource for people without prescription drug coverage is a county discount card, offered through the National Association of Counties. Hundreds of counties nationwide have signed up for the card, which saves you an average of 20% on some medications. You can find out here if your county participates in the plan.


What methods have you found to save money on prescription drugs?


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