HashOut: 2007/10/09
This blog has moved. We welcome you to our new home at http://hashout.org

Four ways to reduce drug costs without risking your health

Four ways to reduce drug costs without risking your healthLook into "me too" brands. Brand names often rule drug prices. For instance, the antibiotic ofloxacin marketed under the brand name Tarivid, is priced at Rs.53.14 per 400mg tablet; as Oflin it costs Rs.14. But as Floxur, it costs just Rs.9.60 per tablet! Ask chemists for less expensive alternatives. "But buying the cheapest," warns Dr Satbir Singh of New Delhi's Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, "may not always be safe, since quality can vary." So, consult your doctor too.

Avoid unnecessary multis. "If your doctor prescribes vitamin B-complex, don't buy multivitamin capsules as many patients do," advises Dr Yatish Agarwal of New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital. Plain B-complex pills are cheap, while multivitamins cost much more. Components other than the B vitamins loaded in multivitamin capsules are required only in special cases and may be useless for you.

Asthmatic? Get the economy pack. Asthma patients who use inhalers should know that Cipla now markets Asthalin inhalers in a pack that gives 200 puffs for Rs.77. There's also a 400-puff economy pack for Rs.96, which could save you about Rs.425 a year assuming you average eight puffs a day.

Find out about freebies. Pharmaceuticals regularly give away large amounts of drugs as "physician's samples," to doctors -- all meant to be distributed free among patients. So before going to the medical store, ask your doctor if part of the prescription can be had for free.
» Continue reading