Tired of being ripped off by U.S. pharmaceutical companies?
If you can't cut costs with generics, you should try buying foreign. Until Wal-Mart and Target launched dirt-cheap plans, many smart Americans were buying from companies outside the U.S. In fact, Canada is a great place to buy brand-name drugs.
Don't worry, buying prescription drugs from Canada through the mail is perfectly legal. It's also safe and a great way to pick up the brand-name drugs you need.
Be sure to deal with a reputable company like one of the three companies I list below. And price shop among them. Even among the online mail-order companies, prices can vary drastically.
For example, I just priced a 90-day supply of Lipitor through four online distributors. Prices ranged from $104 in Canada to $456 in the US
3 well-known and respected Canadian mail-order pharmacies are:
• http://www.tcds.com 888-372-2252
• http://www.thecanadianpharmacy.com 866-335-8064
• http://canadapharmacy.com 800-891-0844
So if you pay out of pocket for your drugs, and you and your doctor agree you must have a brand name, shop around for the best price.
Naturally, if you need the drugs to treat an immediate problem or you've run out of a critical medication, this option may not be appropriate. But if you're able to plan ahead, mail-order services can save a bundle.
But beware… not all pharmacies are reputable. Some of these so-called "pharmacies" make money selling fake medications.
If you ever receive pills that smell unusual or are falling apart, throw them away and alert your doctor for reporting and a new prescription.
Cost Cutter No. 2 – FREE DRUGS
The best-kept secret of the drug business is that you can get almost any prescription drug in the world, free.
Don't expect to hear this secret from your pharmacist… or even your doctor. But these programs are perfectly legal… and are being used by thousands of Americans across the country.
Most people don't take advantage of these freebie programs, simply because they – and their doctors – don't know the programs exist.
Drug companies don't disclose the exact criteria it takes to qualify, but it's certainly easier to receive free drugs from a private company than it is to get assistance from the federal government.
A great website can help you discover whether you can get free drugs.
Go to the website http://www.pparx.org, and click on the button for patients.
There, you can enter the drugs you take and fill out a simple form. The website will tell you which drugs are available for financial assistance and from what company.
I highly recommend this site for determining where to find free medication. But if you already know who makes your drug, go directly to that drug company and see if you qualify. You can look up their websites, but these can be confusing. I encourage you to call the company directly.
When you call, ask the operator for the "patient-assistance program." They can help determine your qualifications.
And don't forget the complete list of free drug programs on the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) websites:
Or you can even call them at: 888-477-2669.
Keep in mind, the companies initiated these programs as assistance for low-income folks who struggle to afford their medications. Each has different criteria for giving free medications. In general, to apply, you'll have to verify your income and medical expenses. And not everyone qualifies.
Editor's note: In his "Retirement Cheat Sheet for the U.S. Health Care System" special report, Doc tells subscribers about other cost-cutting tips for getting your prescription medicines cheap. His recommendations about health care are just part of how he shows readers to live a millionaire lifestyle on less money than you'd imagine possible.
Dr. David Eifrig, Jr, editor, "Retirement Millionaire"