Unfortunately, everyone who is faced with having to take daily medications will eventually feel the burden of the cost of those medications. Luckily, options are available to ease that burden.


However, before we go into your options, let me stress one thing. While there are programs and options available to help you pay for your medications, these programs need to be thought of as a SHORT-TERM plan.


While the beauty of these programs is that they really do help those in need, the dark side of the programs is that they are often temporary. Please keep this in mind and view each solution as a temporary help. That way, while taking advantage of any solution, you will remember to plan for the time that the solution is no longer available or viable.


• Ask your doctor for help. Your doctor will be aware of the high costs of these medications and can sometimes offer you free samples to help you out until you can save up the money to pay for the medication on your own. Remember, however, that he or she will not agree to keep handing these samples out indefinitely. You really do need to budget for the cost of the medications in the future.


• Contact the manufacturer of your medication for help. Many pharmaceutical companies, like Astra-Zeneca (makers of Seroquel), have programs in place to help their customers afford their medications. Many times these programs can allow you to get your name brand medication at a discount or even for free.   For example:


Rx OutreachExpress Scripts Specialty Distribution Services, Inc.PO Box 66536Saint Louis, MO 63166-6536Customer Service: 1-800-769-3880Hours are 7:00 am - 5:30 pm CST Mon-Friemail: rxoutreach@express-scripts.com


• Try using an online Canadian pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. There are an abundance of these sites on the Internet and they are worth researching. The medications are the same ones that you would be getting if you filled your prescription at your local pharmacy, but the difference in cost can be quite remarkable.  However, the FDA has issued a warning that prescription drugs purchased from foreign countries generally are not FDA-approved, do not meet FDA standards, and do not have the same assurance of safety as drugs regulated by FDA, so be careful using this option.


• Sign up for the prescription assistance plan at Partnership for Prescription Assistance. This new program is intended to help individuals get the medications they need even when they can't afford them. Log on to www.pparx.org for more information and to access the forms needed to sign up.


• Ask for help. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try; we just can't come up with the money to afford our medications. Everyone has financial setbacks and your friends and loved ones will understand this. Try asking them for short-term help. Just remember to be honest. If you need help for more than one month, say so. Being up front will help dispel any "weird" feelings that come from borrowing the money. A good idea might be to “divide up” your medication needs between loved ones—that way no one person carries the burden alone, the financial strain on each individual will be lessened, and each one will still feel that they are helping out.


If you are having trouble getting people to believe the money that they give you will be for your medication, you can ask them to pay for the medications directly so they won’t feel like you might mismanage any money given. Now, you might not think this is fair, but it’s a good solution to the problem.


Remember, no matter what you choose to do, never let a lack of money keep you from taking your medications. You need the medications to stay healthy and happy. Make getting and affording your medications your number one priority.