Allergy medication costs can add up quickly - here's how to save.
Allergy season is here, and it’s nothing to sneeze at. From ragweed and mold spores to grass and tree pollen, seasonal allergies affect millions of people worldwide and can cause an immense amount of discomfort and irritation. Unfortunately, the cost of allergy medications can add up quickly, making it difficult for some people to afford the treatment they need. A 2021 study found that seasonal allergies cost consumers an average of $266 a year - that’s more than $16,000 over a lifetime!
The good news is that there are several ways to save money on allergy medications without sacrificing quality or effectiveness. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most effective solutions for reducing the cost of allergy medications so that you can keep your allergies under control without breaking the bank.
1. Shop around
Comparison shopping (the practice of comparing the price of products or services from different vendors before you make a purchase) is a great way to ensure that you’re not overpaying for a good or service. Consumers shop around for cars, appliances and even homes - so why not healthcare?
A good rule of thumb when shopping for allergy medications is to check the price offered by several competing pharmacies or online vendors. This can save you money, educate you on how different allergy medications work, and turn you into a more informed healthcare consumer.
For example, the cost of a 30-count 10mg pack of Claritin 24-hour costs $26.21 at CVS, $34.54 at Walmart, $38.35 at Walgreens and $40.16 at RiteAid. That’s the exact same brand and the exact same number of tablets - with a savings of $13.95 from one pharmacy to another. You can use online tools like SingleCare to compare prescription allergy medication prices at different pharmacies.
2. Consider generic OTC allergy medicines instead of name brand
You might be shocked to learn that brand name isn’t always better - especially when it comes to medications. Most retailers offer a generic or unbranded version of a good or service at a fraction of the cost, even though both products are normally manufactured by the same company and have the same components or ingredients. Those manufacturers can then appeal to people who are paying at both ends of the spectrum.
This is especially true when it comes to over-the-counter drug costs, as most brand-name drugs have a generic version with the same formulation. That means that the generic medication has the same strength and the same active ingredients as the name-brand option. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generic drug prices can be 20-70% less than their name-brand counterparts.
For instance, CVS charges $23.79 for a 35-count pack of Xyzal Adult Allergy. However, CVS charges $16.99 for a 35-count pack of levocetirizine dihydrochloride 5-mg tablets (the generic version of Xyzal). That’s the same amount of the same drug at the same strength and formulation – but the generic version is 33% cheaper. Be sure to compare generic and name-brand counterparts next time you’re at the pharmacy, and you’ll be amazed by how much you can save.
3. Ask your doctor about generic prescriptions
The “shop generic” mentality doesn’t just help you save on over-the-counter allergy relief - shopping generic for prescription allergy medications keeps money in your pocket as well! Always ask your doctor if there is a generic prescription available before they prescribe allergy relief - generic prescriptions are bioidentical to their name-brand versions.
4. Use coupons to offset allergy medication costs
You don’t need to be an extreme couponer to save on allergy medications! Many manufacturers have coupons, discounts, rebates, or patient assistance programs that you can use when purchasing your allergy medication. Pharmacies and other big-name retailers typically offer coupons on their store-brand products as well. All you need to do is visit the website of the drug manufacturer or retailer to see if there are any patient assistance programs or coupons available.
You can also save up to 80% on prescription medications with the Sesame Prescription Savings Card, which can be used at 35,000+ locations across the country, including major chains like CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, Albertsons, Kroger, H-E-B, Hy-Vee and Wegmans. All you have to do is show the card to your pharmacist when picking up your prescription to confirm whether it can be used at your pharmacy. The best part? Your Sesame savings card works for everybody - friends, family, and co-workers - even if they've never used Sesame before.
From comparison shopping to coupons, there are a number of ways to save money on seasonal allergy medications so you can enjoy the beauty of spring without sneezing, scratchy throats, runny noses and itchy eyes. If you're struggling to decide how to best treat your allergies, you can also book a video allergy consult with a Sesame provider. Don't let allergies hold you back - take advantage of these cost-saving strategies from Sesame and enjoy all that the season has to offer.
- Annual spending on allergy treatments of U.S. adults as of 2021, by generation(in U.S. dollars) (n.d.). statista.com/statistics/1310354/annual-spending-on-allergy-treatment-by-generation-us.
- How Generic Competition Helps Bring Down Drug Prices (n.d.). fda.gov/about-fda/center-drug-evaluation-and-research-cder/generic-competition-and-drug-prices.