How To Save $ On Your Prescriptions

Did you know that not all pharmacies charge the same amount for prescription drugs?  Well they don’t. The difference between two pharmacies can be great, as much as a five times difference, or even more.

For those of us who need to pay cash for our meds, shopping around to different pharmacies can make a big difference.  As I mentioned, there can be a big difference between the cheapest pharmacy and the most expensive pharmacy. Now I am talking about comparing apples and apples here.  This is not a comparison of generic to brand names (more on that below), but rather a comparison of the exact same med from one drug store to the one cross town!

 

Before you pay cash for a prescription, check at least 3 pharmacies.  A good place to start is the discount houses like Costco or Sam’s Club. You might think that you can’t go there unless you have a membership, but think again.  Even if you are not a member of these stores you can still use the pharmacies. They frequently have the best prices, but not always. Be sure to check the small “Mom and Pop” type of pharmacy too.  Often they have the best price, and I think that the service is better here. You can also do a Google search on “price of ‘drug X’”. That will give you a list of pharmacies and how much they charge for that drug.

 

Generic vs brand drugs:  With few exceptions, generic drugs are just as good as the brand...but much cheaper.  On rare occasions it might make sense to use only the brand drug. You can ask your doctor if the medication that you are taking must be brand.  If you are taking a medication where the dose is critical, (e.g. thyroid) it is more important to be sure that the manufacturer of the med is always the same.  You may need to talk to the pharmacist this time. He can usually get the correct manufacturer med for you in 24-48 hrs.

 

Those of us with insurance can also save...although the savings will usually be less.  It always makes sense to ask what the cost of a prescription would be if you didn’t use your insurance.  It will usually be less with insurance, but not always. If the drug is cheap or if your copay is fixed you may save money by paying cash.  This is frequently the case for chronic medications that are cheap. The cost for 100 pills could be close to the copay of one month’s supply.  That means that you get over 3x the amount for the same. Just ask! Also, be sure to use one of the preferred pharmacies in your network. The copay will be lower here than an out of network pharmacy.

 

Do not assume that the first price you’re quoted is what you have to pay! In summary, it pays to shop around! 

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Article Written By Michael Huff, MD

Dr. Huff is a third-generation family practitioner.  He practices family medicine in Oxnard where he was born and raised. He has been in practice for over 25 years.  His special interests are pediatrics, gynecology and sports medicine.

Dry Skin 101 with Michael Huff, MD!

 

Dry Skin 101 with Michael Huff, MD

When one realizes that we live in a semi-arid desert it is easy to understand why dry skin is one of the commonest things seen in a primary care doctor’s office. This complaint is more common in the winter when the air is even drier.

When a patient suffers from dry skin the most common complaint is “I itch!”, but there is no rash. It is also usual that the itch is worse at night. Commonly there is no visible sign that there is anything wrong with the skin. Occasionally there will be some scales or other signs of dry skin, but these findings are less common than normal appearing skin. If the patient is scratching the itch there are frequently some small scabs on the problem area. These areas are commonly the lower legs.

 
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In addition to our dry climate, other causes of dry skin are the things that we do to our skin in the name of cleanliness. Many people shower or bathe daily. When they do this they usually lather up the entire body. This use of soap depletes the natural oils in the skin and makes it dry. When it is dry it tends to itch.

The treatment for this uncomfortable itch is to correct the things that cause the dry skin. We can’t do much about the climate. It is what it is. What we can do however is ameliorate some of the other causes of dry skin.

One thing that will help is to decrease the frequency of the showers. Many people will cringe at the thought of not showering every day, but for severe cases of dry skin that is exactly what is needed.

The next thing to do is use the correct soap. The correct soap is one that is not very drying. There are 2 soaps that have been tested and found to be mild. Those 2 are Dove (original) and Lux. They are mild and will not dry out the skin when used correctly.

The correct use of soap is to use it in only the areas that get sweaty. These areas are the face, armpits, and crotch. Some women may also want to include under the breasts. The rest of the body does not need any soap. Simple rinsing in the shower is all that is needed, unless you are covered in mud!

Finally, you need to lubricate the skin and replace the oils that the water and the dry air have washed out. The product that I recommend is Aquaphor . Your first thought when you see this product is “Its too greasy!”. It may seem greasy in the jar but when you put it on your skin and RUB IT IN it doesn’t leave the skin greasy at all.

It may take a few days of this treatment (minimal use of soap followed by Aquaphor rubbed in over the whole body immediately after a shower) to make the itch go away but it will. Thereafter one should use this routine after every shower. If one follows this routine daily, it will prevent the itch caused by dry skin.

 


Article Written By Dr. Michael Huff

Dr. Huff is a third generation family practitioner.  He practices family medicine in Oxnard where he was born and raised. He has been in practice for over 25 years.  His special interests are pediatrics, gynecology and sports medicine.

 
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