Americans cut medicine in half - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Americans cut medicine in half

June 23, 2005

Albany- From time to time, Thomas McSwain of Davis Drugs in Albany, gets a request for pills to be cut in half.

"It's cash patients, it's insurance patients, it's some Medicare patients," McSwain said.

People, and insurance companies, are figuring out that pill splitting cuts down on costs.

"We've actually gotten some memos from insurance companies that are requesting the pharmacist to call the doctor to get a higher strength and to take half the tablet," he said.

The reason why is because sometimes the wholesale price for drugs is the same for different strengths of medication.

The wholesale price for Zocor, a popular cholesterol drug, is $148.93 for a bottle of 30, regardless is they're 20 milligram, 40 milligram or 80 milligram pills. For Viagra,the wholesale cost is $334.93 for a bottle of 30. That's the price for 25 milligram, 50 milligram or 100 milligram pills.

Some of the medications that insurance companies recommend for splitting include cholesterol drugs like Lipitor and antidepressants like Zoloft. But some medications just aren't safe to split, like capsules or time-release pills.

"There are some pills that are not made from the manufacturer to be able to be broken," McSwain said.

So before you decide to save money by splitting, check with your pharmacist.

"And make sure your physician knows that you're changing the drug and cutting the dose in half."

Because cutting the cost of medications may not but worth cutting down on good health.

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