American consumers typically make 26 trips a year to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications, spending about $338 per year, according to the latest data from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. If you regularly use OTC medicines to treat allergies, acid reflux, or chronically occurring pain, then you may spend much more than that. Looking to save some cash? Here are four tips to help you save money on over-the-counter medications.
Four Ways to Save on Over-the-Counter Medications
Buy a store brand It is very likely that the store brand version of your OTC medication will work the same as the name brand version. Both store brand and name brand over-the-counter drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and they must have the same active ingredient and act the same way in the body. The differences may lie in the other ingredients, packaging, and/or format (gel capsule, tablet, etc.). Read each package carefully before you make a purchase and stop at the pharmacy counter or call your doctor if you have any questions about your specific needs.
Ask for a prescription (yes, really!) If you are going to be regularly taking an over-the-counter drug for an extended period of time, such as an allergy or acid reflux medication, your doctor can write you a prescription for it. Depending on your insurance, this may allow you to pay a low copay for the prescription rather than a higher retail price for the OTC option. Because you are filling a prescription instead of purchasing an OTC medication, you can use a pharmacy discount card, like FamilyWize , to save money on each Rx purchase. FamilyWize card users save an average of 45% on their prescription drugs .
Check with the pharmacy counter If you are concerned about the cost of your over-the-counter medications, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or pharmacist for help. The team behind the pharmacy counter may have suggestions for how you could swap out your current drugs for less expensive options, or they may know about coupons or other options to consider.
Collect coupons Strategically clipping coupons can also help shave a few dollars off of your spending on OTC medications. Brand names like Advil have various online offers available. Large retail chains, like Target and Costco, also offer deals that make regularly purchased drugs more affordable.
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