Prices for medicines in pharmacies are sometimes very different. How to save money but get an effective treatment? Buy drugs with proven effectiveness, buy a generic if you are confident in its quality, and also less often go to the pharmacy.

How to Buy an Original Drug?

Let us suppose you did not find a generic with a good reputation, so you do not want to take risks and are willing to pay for quality. Choose the original drug. But here is a catch again: identifying it among dozens of synonyms on their own can be difficult: for some reason, no one writes the word ‘original’ or ‘branded’ in capital letters on the package (and even small ones in the instructions or on the drug reference website).

Here are three sources of information that you should turn to in this situation.

  • Doctor

Even if a doctor, following the letter of the law, writes in the active substance name in prescription, no one will forbid him to name the trade name of the original drug out loud (if he, of course, knows it).

  • Pharmacist at the pharmacy

He is just obligated to provide buyers with complete information on dispensed medicines and to announce the list of substitutes available. Ask to sell the original and hope that it is in stock. A situation is possible when such a drug will not be not the only one in the pharmacy, but also in the country. Many original medicines come from abroad, and the stubborn pursuit of import substitution leads to the fact that it becomes more difficult for foreign companies to obtain the registration certificates necessary for the sale of medicines in the U.S. and Canada. As a result, the choice between analogs narrows to a few generics.

  • List of compliance of generics and original drugs

It was compiled by the FDA and published on the FDA website divided into drug directory in three parts. If you administer medicines according to a preferential prescription, the drug that the state has purchased for these purposes will be given in the pharmacy. This will not necessarily be the original, and it is illegal to demand it.

Is It Worth Comparing Prices in Pharmacies?

The price of medicine in different pharmacies depends on many factors, which in general are the same as in stores. The same drug, bought in a premium pharmacy network and in an economy pharmacy on the outskirts of the town can differ in cost by an order of magnitude.

From the point of view of both economy and common sense, it is not always advantageous to go for the medicine to the other end of the city to the most budgetary pharmacy: you will spend time and money making the minimum difference. But if you often buy medicines a lot, it makes sense to check prices in online pharmacies. If you take a gander at Ousu Pharmacy, a prescription service working outside USA, you may check the actual discounts for generic drugs that cannot usually boast cheap prices, and have them promptly delivered right to your door. Another option is to use all kinds of online aggregators that allow you to compare prices from different companies.

By the way, there is no need to be afraid of economy pharmacies that have become popular in recent years. Their main drawback is the relatively narrow range. This means that the medicine you need may simply not be there. But if time is running out, you can try to leave an order for the drug by phone or directly at the checkout: usually companies go for it, the main thing is that the price as a result suits you. For the rest, everything is fine with them.

Buy Large Packs of Drugs: When Is It Profitable?

The analogy is connected with ordinary purchases: more packaging – lower price in terms of unit of goods. This is a dubious move when buying an antibiotic with a course exactly for a week of admission or sunscreen (usually they have a short shelf life). But if you treat chronic disease for many months or regularly buy a band-aid and enterosorbent in a travel kit, this tactic will help to save a certain amount for more pleasant purchases.

But to save on taking medications, dividing the tablets into halves or digging one drop in the eyes instead of the prescribed two, medical specialists strongly advise against it. So, unfortunately, many patients act this way not only for reasons of economy but also for other reasons, for example, because they do not want to poison themselves with “chemistry” once again or consider that any drugs should be taken only if they feel unwell.

No, no, and NO. If your doctor has diagnosed hypertension disease, it will probably have to be treated for the rest of his life. And this means that you need to take the prescribed tablets every day at the same time without regard to the tonometer. Otherwise, treatment will only make you worse.

Do you File a Tax Deduction for Drugs?

Another non-obvious option is a tax deduction (learn more). This is such a bonus from the state that you spend money on something useful (in our case, on health). The thing is that after completing all the necessary documents confirming the costs, the tax will return you a certain percent of them. In fact, this is not a gift, but only part of the money that you, as a decent person, paid to the state.

In the case of registration of a tax deduction for medicines, it is necessary that three conditions coincide:

  • You are officially employed and pay taxes (however, if this is not the case, your spouse, your adult child or parent can apply for a tax deduction in your place);
  • The doctor prescribed the medicine for you (this is a fundamental point: usually the doctor does not issue a prescription form if the drug itself is sold without a prescription, and you are not a beneficiary, but you always have the right to demand that everything be formalized);
  • The medicine is included in the approved FDA List of funds for which a tax deduction is required.

Of course, if you visit a doctor once a year with a cold, then drawing up a tax deduction is an unnecessary waste of time. But if the amount of your purchases in the pharmacy for a year is close to six, the deduction in some sense will sweeten the pill you just bought.

Do not Go to Pharmacies Unnecessarily

This advice has a double bottom: first, medical specialists urge you to stop perceiving pharmacies as an object of everyday shopping. Every third Canadian admits that he buys medicines at least once a month, and, it seems, not every purchase in a pharmacy has a medical justification.

In the era of aggressive marketing, it is hard to get out of there without grabbing ascorbic acid, hematogen, or some other stupid little thing imposed by a sales consultant. And then something more substantial: the fifth thermometer, three kilograms of bath salt or an expensive package of multivitamins (spoiler: it is unlikely that they will at least help your health unless you have returned from around the world on inflatable rafts).

The second reason, it is advised to go to the pharmacy only in extreme cases for a rational attitude to medicines.

Thousands of scientists have dedicated their lives to building a chain from the disease to the pill that can defeat it. Millions of healthy and not very volunteers took various combinations of drugs to help researchers figure out the optimal treatment regimen for each of the diseases we know. Do not spoil this work with the mistakes of an illiterate doctor or with your own mistakes associated with an irrational approach to choosing the brand of the drug.


Do not get carried away with biohacking. This is a relatively new phenomenon, but very popular among young and progressive people. A lot of things are mixed in it: both an obsession with eternal youth (“If you start taking medications for prevention in 30, you will live up to 200 years!”), and faith in technological progress (“Modern medicines can accelerate the brain and build muscle without a gym!” ), and to a certain extent, a commitment to conspiracy theory (“Scientists are hiding from us the true power of certain drugs to sell this information for big money to people from the elite circle”).

Biohacking has certain advantages. As a rule, people who profess such an approach to their health not only take medications bypassing generally accepted medical recommendations but also lead a healthy lifestyle. But there is no convincing scientific evidence in favor of their fascination with pills. In fact, we are simultaneously participants in a large clinical study: in 50 years we will be able to assess the well-being of biohackers. And decide who was right. In the meantime, be reasonable and do everything possible to buy the most effective of the available medicines prescribed by a competent doctor. And let them certainly cure you.