That Huge Savings on Your Prescription May Not Be as Good as It Seems

prescription drugs costWith the rising costs of gas, food, prescription drugs, etc., we're all trying to save a buck or two. So it's no wonder that more of us are using coupons whenever we can. That's a winning premise for the manufacturers of FDA approved pharmaceuticals, who have been making out pretty darn well by creating direct-to-consumer coupons for their products. Nearly 19 million Americans who regularly take a prescription med have used coupons in the last year to save money, according to a 2011 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. No big surprise, right?

But deal or no deal, sometimes these meds coupons aren't what they seem. They can actually end up costing you more -- financially or in a different way -- in the long-run, warns Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs.

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Sometimes the coupons steer us toward a drug that isn't necessarily our best personal choice or the best choice. Cast in point: According to a recent analysis by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, you could use a coupon for Actos, one drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, but three other low-cost generic meds (metformin, glimepiride, glipizide) work as well or better than Actos, alone or in combination.

Plus, these "savings" programs often lure you in with is a limited time offer, but prices will go back to their usual cost after a certain length of time.

And there's always the hitch that a prescription drug savings program might not apply to you ... because your insurance coverage still matters. For example, with the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor, you're not eligible if you are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, other federal insurance programs, or you don't have insurance.

Just like any other good that is allowed to create direct-to-consumer advertising, it seems like pharmaceutical companies are happy to offer up a bargain -- albeit alongside tons of asterisks -- to every unsuspecting, eager American. So, obviously, it's a must to really look into any of these supposed deals before you get all psyched about one. Otherwise, you might be setting yourself up to pay a lot more in the long-run.

Have you ever used coupons or signed up for a savings plan for prescription drugs?

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