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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Can't Afford Your Prescription Drugs? Just Split 'Em in Half--What Genius

A Florida pharmacist has hit upon an antidote to the skyrocketing cost of some prescription drugs: splitting the tablets in half.

David Parra, a clinical pharmacist at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, tells WebMD that tablet splitting of one popular cholesterol-lowering drug alone can save people more than $850 a year. If you’re taking multiple prescription drugs that lend themselves to the practice, the savings could be even greater.

He presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

Many prescription drugs are available in higher-dose tablets for the same price as lower-dose tablets, he says. By splitting the higher-dose tablets in half, people can get their usual dose for about half the cost. For example, if someone’s doctor says he or she needs 20 milligrams of Zocor to lower cholesterol, the doctor can write a prescription for 40 milligrams and the patient can split the pill in half. That way, the prescription would last for 60 days.

The Department of Veterans Affairs saved $46.5 million in 2003 by having eligible patients split their tablets of the popular cholesterol-lowering statin drug Zocor, he says.

--Fox News, 10/11

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