Updated September 12, 2011
Published September 1, 2011
How can I get my asthma medications for free?
Asthma is best treated by taking your controller or preventive inhalers consistently. For many the challenge is getting the medication because they can be very expensive. Most times the total cost of your asthma medications are more than it costs to see your doctor. It is thus important to know how you can get your medications at a discount or, in some instances free. Here are some tips:
1) Free Samples Ask your physician if they have any free asthma medication samples. Most physicians are sympathetic to their patients’ needs and will give them free samples to help them stretch their dollar.
2) Find out if there are coupons There 2 types of coupons or discount cards. One type allows you to get the asthma medication free for one month, and another one will give you a discount up to a certain amount off the cost of the asthma medication or your prescription co-pay. There are even some coupons that will cover your whole co-pay for several months so you practically get your asthma inhalers free. You would need a prescription from your doctor plus the coupon to bring to your pharmacist. These coupons can be obtained from your doctor, your pharmacist or through the internet.
3) Non-profit pharmacies In some communities you could find not-for-profit pharmacies that provide assistance or free medications for patients in need. They get free drugs, including asthma medications, donated by physicians and pharmaceutical companies to be given to the needy. An example would be the Faith Community Pharmacy in Northern Kentucky area that has been dispensing discounted or free medications to patients in need for many years.
4) The Internet is a great place to find coupons or programs get medication discounts.
Coupons. If you are taking a “brand name” medication, chances are it is expensive. However, the drug manufacturers understand thus they try to find ways to make it more affordable for the consumers. Most times they have coupons in their websites which can be printed and brought to the pharmacy with your doctor’s prescription
Patient Assistance Programs. Most drug manufacturers have “patient assistance programs” that allow patients to get their medications for free. You would also need to visit their websites and search for the “Patient Assistance” section of their site. They usually need to know your income and the asthma medication prescription from your doctor.
An easy way find major pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs is to go to their website then in their “search” boxes” type “patient assistance program”. Listed below are major pharmaceutical companies involved in the asthma and allergy fields.
5) Participate in Clinical Drug Trials Most clinical drug trials are run under very strict supervision as mandated by government under the FDA to protect the rights of study participants. It is for this reason that a fair number of people volunteer to participate in clinical drug trials. There are several studies on allergy and asthma in your community that you could find by visiting the website clinicaltrials.gov. People participate in trials for various reasons. Most volunteer because they believe it will benefit themselves and others for now and the future. Some participate because it gives them access to new asthma medications free of charge, that otherwise is not available elsewhere. And lastly, it gives them access to leading healthcare professionals that provide high quality care. Be aware that some studies use placebo to compare to the study drug, and some do not.
Check out these reputable sites before participating in clinical trials:
- U.S. National Institutes of Health – www.clinicaltrials.gov
- The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation - www.ciscrp.org
6) Store Brand Generics Many of the major pharmacy and grocery chains have generic asthma or allergy medications that can be obtained for $4 to $10 dollars, if you have a prescription from your doctor. Most generic drugs work just as well as brand name medications.
7) Grants You can look for grants that will provide some assistance to patients who cannot afford their medications. One example is a non-profit organization called HealthWell Foundation. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was established in 2003 to help or assist patients afford their copay, coinsurance or premiums. To be eligible for the Grant the patient must have private insurance, COBRA, Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal or military supported insurance coverage. You can check out the details at www.healthwellfoundation.org.