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The last thing we want to have to do in retirement is to have to choose between groceries and medicine. Yet how many of us review our Medicare formulary every year to decide whether we should change to another Medicare policy to save money? Besides this, what else can you do to lower the cost of prescription drugs?

Mail-order pharmacies

You can order meds from reputable Canadian mail-order pharmacies.

CanadaPharmacy.com 800-891-0844
The Canadian Drug Store TCDS.com 888-372-2252
TheCanadianPharmacy.com 866-335-8064


You can cut coupons.

Modify the prescription

If the manufacturer charges the same price for all strengths, as many do, you can order a large pill and use a pill splitter. You can also order a 90 day, instead of a 30-day, supply to save funds.

Ways to cut out the Pharmacy Benefits Manager

Also see about Direct Primary Care, paying a monthly fee to your doctor for unlimited visits, especially if your doctor has a dispensary license, allowing her to purchase medications directly from the supplier and cutting out the Pharmacy Benefit Manager, a representative of the insurance company. Goodrx.com and Singlecare.com also cut out Pharmacy Benefit Managers.

Generic or Over-the-counter Drugs

Talk to your pharmacist. Maybe a generic, an earlier iteration or another drug would work as well. Maybe a former prescription drug has become an over-the-counter drug, just like ibuprofen. Ask if there are free refills.

Comparison shop

Prices vary widely by pharmacy. Compare mail-order pharmacies at pharmacychecker.com and mat.org. Make sure the pharmacy is credentialed and licensed in the U.S. with a verified pharmacy practice site (VIPPS) certification, requiring a prescription and employing a pharmacist you can speak with by phone.

Medicare Part D

Find out whether you qualify for Medicaid Part D Extra Help.

Financial Assistance/Free Meds/Samples

Check medicineassistancetool.org for financial assistance and free meds from pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs.

When starting a new medicine, ask for a sample so that you know the medicine is right for you before paying for a 90-day prescription.

Input your zip code at naco.org for free prescription coverage for the drug you need or, if not, an average savings of 24%.

Save on Lab costs

You can also save on lab costs by doing home health tests.


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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