Deal Finder: Conversation with pharmacist Mindy Leech on cost-saving tips for prescription meds

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By LATINA EMERSON, Deal Finder

Prescription drugs can be expensive, especially when treating or managing certain medical conditions. Many patients are forced to make difficult choices to afford their medications.

Patients can save money by partnering with their local pharmacy. Below are some helpful tips from Mindy Leech, pharmacist and owner of Lee-King Pharmacy in Newnan, that offers ways to cut costs.

Consult with Local Pharmacists. By consulting with their local pharmacist, patients will gain financial and medical benefits, said  Mindy Leech, pharmacist and owner of Lee-King Pharmacy at 18 Cavender St. in Newnan.

“Pharmacists are underutilized health care providers, and using an independent pharmacy is best in the long run,” Leech said. “We truly care about your business and will do whatever we can to keep you as a customer and keep you healthy. You are a person, not a number, to us.”

Work with a local pharmacist to get the best price. Independent pharmacists will take the time to try to get patients the best price on a medication. When patients are prescribed an expensive medication, Leech will call the patient’s doctor and ask if the physician is willing to send over a prescription for a cheaper, similar medication.

Local pharmacists will also spend time to get coupons and can sometimes give patients cash prices that will save them money. This is especially useful to patients without prescription insurance. Cash price refers to the current price of the drug if it were purchased outside of insurance.

Ask about Medicare Part D plans. Patients who are 65 and older and going on Medicare Part D plans can ask their local pharmacist for advice on which Part D plan will be best for them. “This is often overwhelming for patients, and we can ease that stress,” Leech said.

Stay on track with preventive medications. Taking preventive medications now will often keep patients from getting stuck with expensive prescriptions down the line. Local pharmacists can remind patients when it’s time to refill their medication and reiterate the importance of taking these baseline, long-term medications to reduce long-term health care costs.

Call your pharmacist for health-related questions. Pharmacists are often underutilized health care advocates, and independent pharmacists will make the time to answer questions and help patients feel their best. Leech encourages patients to call their pharmacist if they have questions about their health. This free consultation could help save a trip to the doctor’s office and money on health care expenses.

Seek help from drug assistance programs. Some medications, such as insulins and blood thinners, can be costly for patients. Drug assistance programs can help uninsured patients or individuals with high insurance copays. Patients who are having difficulties with high prescription drug costs should speak with their doctor. The doctor’s office staff can call a drug assistance program on the patient’s behalf. Patients might be required to complete some paperwork to qualify.

“They can sometimes get the medication for you for little to nothing,” Leech said. “Doctor’s offices sometimes also have samples.”

Stay up to date on immunizations. By staying up to date on immunizations, patients can save money on health care costs by avoiding costly illnesses. Pharmacies now offer preventative vaccines, such as pneumonia, flu, shingles and COVID vaccines, with no prescription needed.

Use generic drugs. Generic drugs have the same active ingredient as brand name drugs, but they’re usually cheaper.

Get a 90-day supply, if possible. Getting a 90-day supply of your prescription will reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy.

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