National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist
written by: Dean Najarian, Pharm.D., BCPP
My psychiatrist recently gave me a prescription for a new medication. When I went to my pharmacy the pharmacist said it would cost over $300 a month. There is no way I can afford that. What can I do?
First, ensure the pharmacy has your most up to date insurance plan information. Ask the pharmacist if the medication is part of your prescription drug coverage. If you do not have prescription drug coverage, talk with your physician, nurse practitioner, social worker, or health care professional immediately to see if you are eligible for prescription drug coverage or if another medication could be used that is less costly and affordable.
There are “Prescription Drug Assistance Programs” for many of the pharmaceutical companies that provide medications under certain circumstances to patients. "Partnership for Prescription Assistance" or the NAMI web-site may help you find such assistance. You should work with your healthcare professional to fill out necessary forms to be enrolled in these programs. There are also circumstances where small quantities of medications can be given to you from your physician’s office called “samples”. These are intended for short-term use until you can receive your medication from your pharmacy or make other arrangements to obtain your medication. It is important to let your healthcare professional know as soon as possible if you have trouble obtaining your prescribed medication.
NAMI Wishes to thank the College of Psychiatric and Neurological Pharmacists for their participation in writing our medication fact sheets and for writing our "Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist" questions and answers.