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Taking Charge of Your Meds and Your Budget

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Every day, a growing number of Americans depend on life-saving prescription drugs to get and stay healthy. The number of older people using prescription drugs has exploded: Among older Americans (aged 60 and over), 76% use two or more prescription drugs and 37% use five or more.

To help consumers make better prescription drug choices, AARP and Consumer Reports Health have launched a new online tool that, for the first time, allows people to use Consumers Union data to compare prescription safety, effectiveness, convenience and price.

Nelda Barnett of Owensboro knows firsthand how important it is to find ways to “pinch a penny” and manage your budget. Barnett found herself in Medicare’s Part D “Doughnut Hole” in June. She manages her five different prescriptions and says, “It’s so important for everyone to manage their prescriptions and this is a simple – how to do it tool. I like the idea that Consumers Union is working with AARP to help people make the best choices possible.”

Consumers can use the tool to get detailed information about safety, effectiveness, convenience, and price of drugs and receive tips on how to have a conversation about their drugs with their doctor of pharmacist – all at one easy-to-use website.

It is important to research your drug choices. Information based on research reviews of drugs allows you to manage your health and use prescription drugs that are best for you. This evidence-based approach is fast emerging as an important tool to assess the real value of medicines, what they do and what they cost.

Conversation is the best medicine: When it comes to your health, you have the right and responsibility to ask your doctor, pharmacist or other health professional any question you like about how medications may affect your body and your life.

No one should rely on drug research results without taking into consideration individual circumstances and medical history. That’s why AARP recommends that you read the material presented in the tool, compare prices, and consult with your doctor, pharmacist, or other medical provider before adding or changing medications.

To prepare for your conversation, write down a list of all medications you’re taking —including over the counter drugs and herbal supplements—the doses, how you take them, and how often you take them.

Use the online tool to print a list of comparable drugs and their prices. Bring the list to your doctor, pharmacist or other health professional and ask about the pros and cons of switching to a less expensive medicine.

AARP believes that becoming your own medication manager—in partnership with your doctor and your pharmacist—is a good way to put you in control of your health and your budget. Find out how to save more on Rx drugs using this new drug savings tool or see all AARP’s health tools online.

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