Harvard Health Letter

Drug discount programs catch on

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Generic discount drug programs (GDDPs), which offer many generic medications for just a few dollars, are gaining popularity. A study published online Sept. 22, 2014, in JAMA Internal Medicine observed that use of the programs grew from about 4% in 2007 to 23% in 2010.

To cash in on the savings, ask if your pharmacy offers a GDDP. Walmart, Target, Kmart, and a number of grocery stores (Kroger, Publix) offer 30- and 90-day supplies of dozens of generic drugs for as little as $4 and $10. Get a list of the generic medications that are available through the GDDP. There are usually dozens to choose from, including pills to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Take the list to your doctor, and ask if one of the generic options is right for you. "And remember to ask your pharmacist to look at all of your medications once a year to see if there are any potential opportunities for cost savings," says Laura Carr, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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