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How the right pharmacy can save you money and improve your life

By David Howard

John has a soft spot for his new pharmacy. The 50-year-old father of two has multiple health conditions. He’s no stranger to taking medicine, but when he switched to a different pharmacy, he got some unexpected good news. His out-of-pocket expense for his three monthly prescriptions dropped from $45 to nothing.

Drug prices can vary by pharmacy, even for those in network. Your insurance plan can help you find the best locations near you; just call the number on the back of your insurance card.

But better drug prices are just the beginning. Read on to discover all the valuable health knowledge and services you can find at today’s pharmacies.

A pharmacy dedicated to saving you money

Pharmacists can do more than fill prescriptions. They’re eager to help you save money, too. A pharmacist can work with your doctors to help you find less expensive alternatives, from generics to 90-day supplies. If your pharmacy is in network, those savings can go even further. Pharmacists know that if you can’t afford a drug, you won’t take it.

Service beyond the prescription

The right pharmacy can also help you in other ways. Some locations provide low-cost options for routine health care needs. They can check your blood pressure, give you a flu shot and provide general medical exams and physicals. Pharmacies these days can put you on a journey to better health — all from a single location. Here are some of the services you can find:

  • Cost-effective retail medical clinics
  • Weight management seminars
  • Diabetes monitoring and education
  • Eye tests and optical services
  • Programs to help you quit smoking
  • Wellness coaching

If you’re an Aetna member, you can search for in-network pharmacy locations near you with our Find a pharmacy tool.

Concern for your safety

Drug interactions can be dangerous. Side effects can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, pharmacists are looking out for your health. If they have concerns about drug interactions, they will call your doctor — you won’t have to do a thing. They also know the best ways to handle side effects, and they’ll share strategies to beat them.

Most pharmacists will be happy to print out a list of your medications and review it with you. The truth is, they go through years of pharmacy schooling specifically because they care about people.

Easy and connected convenience

Pharmacists can see how busy many of us are. They can help by arranging for 90-day supplies of some prescriptions. Ninety-day supplies (or up to your plan maximum) mean fewer trips to the pharmacy. When you need to stay at home, some pharmacies can also arrange for delivery at no additional cost.

Some pharmacies have adopted an innovation to help patients keep track of multiple medications: multidose packaging. Prescription drugs are packed in correct dosages for each day of the week, along with instructions for when and how they should be taken. Ask your pharmacy if it offers multidose packaging.

Finding the right pharmacy for you

Pharmacies are more than just places to pick up your prescriptions. If you choose one that also happens to be in network, you can take advantage of a range of convenient health services.

When it’s time for you to switch pharmacies, call or visit the in-network location of your choice. The pharmacist will do all the coordination work needed to set you up. Before you know it, you’ll be on the road to better health. 

About the author

David Howard is a freelance writer based in Portland, Maine. He has written for many national publications, including the New York Times, Bicycling, and Prevention.