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What you can do to lower your drug prices

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

Your Questions Answered: In this weekly personal finance segment on The First Trade, we answer audience questions from our Money Mailbag.

Q: Is there any way to shop around for better prescription drug prices?

Reducing drug prices has been a key issue on President Trump’s agenda, talking it about it again on Tuesday night in his State of the Union address: “It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place.”

Fixing our country’s expensive and complicated prescription drug pricing system is not going to be easy, but there are things consumers can do. The first step to save? Start by having a conversation with your doctor.

It sounds obvious, but not enough people do – especially those who are older and need it the most. According to the National Poll for Healthy Aging, 49% of those burdened by drug costs had NOT asked their doctors about less expensive options. But among those who did, doctors did in fact recommend more affordable alternatives two out of three times.

A separate survey by Consumer Reports found that doctors typically discuss drug costs and affordability with only 2.6 out of 10 patients in a typical week. More patients need to take the initiative to speak up and take the lead in finding affordable treatment plans because not having this conversation can save you thousands of dollars a year.

You can further explore lower-cost drug options with your pharmacy and pharmacists as different retailers offer varying price points for the same drug, even within the same town. And don’t forget all your resources online; Medicare.gov highlights pharmaceutical companies that offer assistance programs -- and you can also check out sites like pharmacychecker.com and Good Rx to compare drug prices, rate pharmacies print coupons.

Jeanie Ahn is a senior reporter and producer at Yahoo Finance, covering personal finance and women in business. Follow her on Twitter.

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