Ways My Wife Saves Us Money

Ways My Wife Saves Us Money : Ask Your Pharmacist For Cheaper Medication Edition

medication, cheaper medicine, generic medicine
“Can we get more of this?” my son asked as he handed me an empty container of prescription acne medication. When we first got it last year, his acne was in full blown mid-teenager form. The cream helped a lot, but once it ran out, it wasn’t long before he started breaking out again.

I told him we’d have to see how much it would cost. The full price of the medication was over $400, but with the insurance we had at the time, we only paid $24. However, we changed our medical insurance for 2015, and we would now pay a much higher cost . We have a discount medication card, but it provides much less coverage than our previous plan until our deductible was met.

My wife called the pharmacy, and found out the cream would now cost us $328.

Always seeking out ways to save us money, she started asking questions. Specifically she asked the pharmacy if there was any other medication that could be prescribed that may give us similar results. To our surprise, the pharmacist said we could get the exact medication for a fraction of the cost by simply separating the ingredients.

The acne cream that my son was using was made up of two different medications that are actually shipped separately, and then mixed in the pharmacy into a single container. One ingredient could be purchased over the counter, and the other would require a new prescription.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • Clindamcycin Phosphate: Requires a prescription and costs $77 per container.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Does not required a prescription and cost $2.90 per tube.

For $80, we would get the exact same medication that would have cost $328 had we simply refilled his current prescription. The only down side is that my son will have to apply two creams to his face each day instead of one. That’s definitely worth the savings of $248.

I’ve heard of asking the doctor to prescribe generic or a cheaper medication to save money, but I never thought of asking the pharmacist. But it makes sense, since they know how much they will charge at the cash register, the doctor doesn’t.

The pharmacy has a call in to our doctor to change my son’s prescription. By Tuesday we should have the new medication, and my son will be on his way to clearing up his acne.


We’ll have saved $248 simply by asking the pharmacist a question.

Have you ever asked a pharmacist about alternate medications? How much did it save you?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’ve heard of asking your pharmacist if a generic is available. But these days most doctors do it for you.

    Most of our meds are prepackaged, so I think we’re out of luck. But I’ll definitely keep it in mind.

  • @Abigail – you never know…sometimes it’s a generic, sometimes they can do something like this (separate the ingredients), and sometimes it just might be a completely different medication. It’s always worth asking!

  • I did that with an rx nasal spray that they wanted to charge me $80 for. I actually ended up asking “google” while I was in the drug store and found an almost identical product OTC for $11.

  • I take two drugs regularly and we recently changed to my wife’s insurance with better coverage and less cost. Our out of pocket was going to go up $100/month under the new insurance, but it was a net savings with the plan costs.

    I asked our pharmacist about it, mostly complaining, and he said to go to the manufacturer’s website and print out their discount card. Now I pay the same as before and get cheaper insurance. I’m all kinds of happy.

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