How to Get Free Drugs
During these tough economic times, the last thing you should let go is your health.
You may be thinking, “What?!?!?!? Why would a naturopathic doctor want to help me get free drugs?”
As much as I love the idea of a drug free world, having worked as a triage nurse and medical assistant in Family Practice for eight years, I am fully aware that drugs are necessary on occasion.
According to the therapeutic order that naturopaths such as myself follow, we start with diet and lifestyle, work our way up to herbs and nutritional supplements, and then resort to drugs, surgery, and radiation as the highest form of intervention.
As much as I would love to live in a prescription drug free world, that is just not a reality, and during these rough economic times we lose our jobs, or we lose our insurance, or we lose our jobs and lose our insurance and then lose the ability to pay for our anti-depressants because it was already bad enough before we lost our job and then our insurance.
Now we can’t afford our anti-depressants and our world just seems to spiral down from there! I’m sure many people have been in this frustrating boat.
Just don’t give up hope. Prescription drugs are really dirt cheap to manufacture and both manufacturers and doctors want to see you stay on your medications.
First thing to do when prescription costs are running high is to make an appointment with your doctor or call your nurse and ask that all your brand name scripts be translated to generic. This should not be an emergency to your doctor, it should be something they should understandably be happy to help you with in their spare time. Just be patient and give them a few days to work it all out.
If this is still too expensive for you to manage each month then try using mail order systems that reward you for planning ahead and buying 90 days worth of the generic prescriptions at a time.
If you can’t even afford generics then you need to resort to either of the following three tips:
#1 Ask your doctor for free samples. I’ve worked at doctor offices that do and don’t provide free samples and trust me, there are advantages to both. If your doc doesn’t provide free samples don’t hold it against them, but if you are really down and out you should check with your insurance company (if you have one) or call around to make an appointment and get those free samples. You may even ask your doctor. Personally, I would not be offended if a patient had to discontinue care due to financial reasons. I would want whatever is best for them, and would likely have a recommendation that could help.
#2 Find a community health center. Some “free clinics” can actually write off the cost of your prescriptions, or offer a reduced rate on a sliding scale. Again Google “community clinic Seattle” or wherever you live, make a few calls and see if you qualify for free drugs from their pharmacy, or at the very least sliding scale.
#3 Ask the drug manufacturer to give it to you for free. I know this sounds crazy, but if all else fails, call the manufacturer and ask to participate in their economic hardship program. This makes them happy because it keeps you as their customer as well as serves as a nice tax write off, so please don’t feel too shameless to approach your drug company for some free prescriptions to get you through these tough economic times.
It may just take some extra paperwork through your doctor, so don’t expect it to happen over night. It is not the drug that costs the pharmaceutical industry, it is the research and FDA approval process that skyrockets the price of prescription drugs.
So, for the people advertising their product during the Super Bowl, giving you free drugs is feasible because it means keeping a loyal customer and providing a tax write off. Google the name of your BRAND NAME drug, not generic and find the manufacturer that way. If all else fails, call your pharmacist for help. I know for a fact that many of these companies have economic hardship programs, and when I worked as a medical assistant I helped many patients qualify for these programs.
After all, they do want to keep you as a customer…right?
Again, your doctor will likely have to fill out a form so please be kind and give them a few days to complete the necessary paperwork. We are stressed out too!
Aren’t I sneaky?
The need for pharmaceuticals will gradually drop off and your doc can wean you down from your prescription drugs. I am always inspired when I watch “The Biggest Loser” and see a contestant be removed from all their diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure meds just through weight loss. Amazing!
Whatever you do during these rough economic times, never suddenly withdraw from taking a prescription medication that you can no longer afford without checking with your doctor FIRST. The side effects may be extremely hazardous to your health.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table,
Dr. Nicole Sundene