Prescription drug expenses are a concern for many people, and costs have been shown to deter medication use.

Potential solutions. Tell your doctor if costs are a concern. He or she may be able to prescribe an equally effective, but less expensive alternative. For example, if you need an inhaled steroid, Consumer Reports on Health has evaluated the six medicines in this class. Based on safety, dosing convenience, and cost, they’ve made "best buy" recommendations. The free full report is available at consumerreports.org/health/best-buy-drugs/steroid_asthma.htm.

If you're on Medicare and reach the coverage gap (doughnut hole) in a year, you will get a 50 percent discount on brand name prescription drugs. (Medicare Extra Help recipients do not qualify for this benefit.)

Some drug manufacturers make special offers available. Many of these (savings cards, co-pay cards, vouchers) are distributed by physicians, so ask your doctor if any of these are available for the medications that you're taking for asthma or COPD. Some companies make offers available directly to patients. You can learn more about these programs by visiting the manufacturers' websites.

Publication Review By: Peter B. Terry, M.D., M.A.

Published: 14 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 14 Aug 2013