Unfortunately, there are no generic versions of many of the medications commonly used today. This is especially true for antibiotics, since bacteria have become resistant to many of the older drugs that have generics. However, one of the most useful antibiotics today is still Amoxil, which is available as the generic Amoxicillin and can now be given twice a day. Both are fairly inexpensive, costing about $8 to $12 for a 10 day supply. For resistant bacteria, high dose Amoxicillin, given at almost twice the normal dose, is one of the most effective antibiotics. So, if your child needs an antibiotic, ask if he can be given Amoxicillin.
Eczema is a common skin condition in children that can require expensive medications. Some steroid creams, including Cutivate and Elocon can cost up to $40 or $50, and they are not available as a generic. However, triamcinolone acetonine 0.1% cream is a similar strength steroid, is a generic medication and only costs about $8, and it can be equally effective.
Ask if your insurance plan offers benefits for medications.
Participating with your insurance plans prescription drug benefit program can often be cost effective if you have young children, who are susceptible to ear infections and other conditions that often require prescription medications. A chronic condition, such as allergies ($120 for a one month supply of an antihistamine and steroid nasal spray), asthma ($200 for preventative and rescue medications), or acne ($150 for antibiotics and topical medications) can be very expensive to control. Instead of paying the full price for each prescription, only paying a copay, which usually ranges from $5 to $30, can save you a lot of money.
Even if you do participate in your insurance plan's prescription plan, you will likely pay more for brand name medicines, so you should still ask for generics. Non-formulary medications, or drugs that aren't preferred by your plan can be even more expensive. Consider bringing your drug plan's formulary to your visits to the doctor to make sure that the medicine you are prescribed is covered. Or if a non-formulary drug is required, ask your insurance company for a non-formulary drug request form. The drug may be covered if your Pediatrician fills out the form and states that it is a medical necessity that your child takes the medication.
Compare prices from different pharmacies, including reputable online pharmacies.
It is often difficult to comparison shop when your child is sick and you want to get his prescription as quickly as possible, but doing a little research at different pharmacies can save you money. When comparing prices, it can be helpful if you have a general idea of how much medicines cost. Online pharmacies are a good resource to research drug prices.
See if your pharmacy, or look for a pharmacy, that offers a price matching service.
Do your research, find the lowest price for your prescription, and then see if your pharmacy will match it. Some will even match the lowest prices that you find online.
If you do not have a prescription drug card and/or can not afford the cost of your child's medications, look for help.
One service that provides help and medications for people who can't afford their medications is The Medicine Program.
Or check with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance to see if the manufacturer offers, and you qualify for, financial assistance or free medications. RxHope.com and RxAssist.com are other good resources to find no cost medications if you can't afford your prescriptions.
Educate your Pediatrician to make them more aware of what medicines cost.
Bring your receipts for your medications to your next visit. Seeing the actual dollar amounts might be good motivation for your Pediatrician to choose medications that are cheaper and equally effective. And don't be afraid to ask your Pediatrician to change your child's prescription if you think it is too expensive.