Struggling to pay for prescriptions? There are ways get free or discounted medication

Making Ends Meet
Struggling to pay for prescriptions? There are ways get free or discounted medication

FILE – In this Tuesday, July 25, 2017, file photo, Express Scripts prescription medication bottles are arranged for a photo, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

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Prescription drugs can be expensive, especially if you are struggling to make ends meet as the U.S. works to rebound. However, there are ways to get free or discounted medications right now.

Express Scripts is one pharmacy benefit manager offering discounts. Its new program is for anyone who has lost health care coverage because of the pandemic.

You can get a 30-day supply of a generic drug for $25 and some brand name drugs for $75. You may also want to ask your pharmacist if Parachute Rx discounts are available. Also ask about discount programs the pharmacy is offering.

“You really would not know about these programs. They might not be necessarily advertised very often,” said Ronna Hauser, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association(NCPA).

The NCPA says both independently owned pharmacies and large chains have these programs. They say it helps, especially now, to let the pharmacists know about your financial situation.

“A lot of them are offering opportunities for reduced prescriptions,” said Hauser. “I have seen some of our members setting up programs for unemployed patients who have lost their jobs recently and if they can show that they have lost a job and are currently unemployed, our members are offering discounts or either free or discounted medication.”

Another way you could get free or discounted prescriptions is through a pharmacy that partners with a community health center. About one in five independent pharmacies do this. Some that are part of national chains offer this too.

Ask the drugstore if it’s a 340B pharmacy. And then, ask for the name of the health center it partners with, so you can connect with them and see if you qualify.

A charitable pharmacy is another option that provides free prescriptions to people who meet certain income limits. You can search for these pharmacies on the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics website.

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