Dr. Campbell: What you can do to battle the high cost of prescription drugs

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Prescription drug prices in America are among the highest in the world.

According to data from 2011-2014 from the Centers for Disease Control, 48.9 percent of Americans are using at least one prescription drug and nearly 12 percent are taking five or more. These costs can mount significantly and a new survey suggests that there are some things you can do to reduce your drug costs.

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1. Tell us about this new survey and what it tells us about lowering prescription drug costs

A group of researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a survey of patients who take at least one prescription drug. What they found was that 27 percent of people between ages 50 and 80 call the cost of their medications a burden, and only 51 percent say they bring it up with their doctor.

Interestingly, those who did discuss cost with their doctor, 67 percent say their physician was able to then recommended a drug that cost less. Thirty-seven percent also got similar recommendations from pharmacists.

2. Why do doctors prescribe more expensive medications?

For many physicians it’s as simple as just not knowing how much specific drugs costs. Doctors often do not know a patient’s particular insurance, what it pays for and what it does not pay for, and if a drug is on formulary for that patient’s particular insurance plan or not.

Most doctors simply choose a drug that they know will work well for a particular condition. In addition, doctors can contact pharmaceutical companies on your behalf to ask for financial assistance programs to help defray the costs of drugs you may need.

3. What can you do to lower your own costs?

The most important thing you can do is simply ask your doctor why you need a particular drug and how much it will cost. Most physicians will be able to check for you. Ask for generics when available and always review your medication lists at least annually to ensure that you continue to need the drugs you are on and to see if there are cheaper alternatives.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter.

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