(WZZM) - When it comes to buying a prescription two questions come to mind: "Is it available in a generic?" and "How much is my co-pay for this?"
Well, thanks to the increasing number of coupons floating around, you don't have to break the bank to buy a name brand prescription.
According to two registered nurses at Grand Rapids Allergy, pharmaceutical companies are changing the way they try and attract and keep customers. They're doing away with free samples and instead giving out more money-saving coupons.
"With pharmaceutical companies being in the same boat as other businessess, they are, in an effort to cut costs, sampling less. It behooves the companies to sample less and maybe offer assistance programs," says Leslie Berigan of Grand Rapids Allergy.
Kassie Patterson, also a registered nurse at Grand Rapids Allergy adds, "We just don't see as many samples anymore."
Dawn Yager, a Spring Lake mother of three, has been saving money with coupons on her family's prescriptions for several years. Both her son and her husband take allergy medication and she recently quit smoking with the help of Chantix. In all of her prescriptions, she easily uses a coupon, saving her at-least $20 each time, dropping her insurance co-pay to free. "My doctor volunteers them. He's really good about giving coupons and rebates. If he can help his patients save money, then he's giving them out."
But if your doctor doesn't bring up the cost-saver, you should.
"Medical staff and offices should be knowledgeable about these programs and we should be offering them. But often, the patient doesn't know, so I would encourage patients to ask if they have concerns over costs; not to worry about asking because there are a lot of things available to them to help," says Berigan.
Even before approaching your doctor or nurse about a coupon, take a look around the waiting room. There might be many lying around, like at Grand Rapids Allergy. On the day we were there, just a few feet from the check-in station was a basket full of coupons and discount cards for prescription medication. The coupons vary in savings, from $10 off, to $20 off and even up to $50 off.
Another way Yager gets ahold of coupons is online. "Most drug websites and prescriptions will have a little box that says 'coupons' or 'offers' and then you print it off."
And while many people swear by generic prescriptions to save money, Yager says she is staying with the name brand medications for her son.
"I would stick to it because he's had actual allergies to allergy medication. So with him, I would keep him on what works. For myself, I might be more apt to try something else, but I'm not going to compromise his health."
And with the ease of landing a coupon, chances are she'll continue to save each month too.
By Derek Francis