ABC7 On Your Side: Prescription meds

LOS ANGELES Porter Ranch resident Glenn Leavitt regularly picks up a dozen different medications: Topomax, Neospan and Ambien.

His wife suffers from chronic pancreatitis. Fortunately he has insurance.

"Without insurance I'm guessing it would probably run a $1,000 to $1,500 a month," said Leavitt.

And that's with the special discount on generic drugs now offered by Wal-Mart and some grocery stores.

"More than 300 drugs are offered with our program and that's $4 for a 30-day supply," said Amelia Neufeld, Wal-Mart.

Edward Wolfe, 87, is hoping to find a generic equivalent for his $140 blood-pressure medication.

Some drugs aren't available in generic form and some doctors prefer you stick with the brand name. In these cases, you may be able to get a break by going directly to the manufacturer.

Drug companies offer hundreds of different discount programs. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is a clearing house for all of them.

"The great thing about this program is that it's a free service, a free phone call and in many cases the medicines are free too," Ken Johnson, Partnership for Prescription Assistance.

You simply fill out an application to determine your eligibility.

It's a safety net for people like Glenn Leavitt, who is worried about what would happen if he lost his job and insurance.

"I don't know what we'd do," said Leavitt.

The same thing almost everyone is wondering.

Another way to save on prescriptions: try a mail order pharmacy. Some work with health plans, other mail order pharmacies cater to those without insurance. If you meet certain eligibility requirements, you could qualify for a big discount. And it's especially good for those who have trouble getting to a pharmacy.

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