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Can’t Afford Your Medicine? Here are Some Ideas

Many people are realizing that COPD medicine, especially inhalers, can be very expensive. This is often true even if you have health insurance. We could get into a lengthy debate as to why they’re so expensive. For now, however, we’ll just put forth some ideas to help you get the medicines you need.

Talk to your doctor about free samples.

Sometimes doctors have free samples of medicines to give to patients. I have taken advantage of this many times over the years, and at one point or another have tried just about every asthma medicine for free. If you need a short-term solution, if you need your medicine right now, this is a good place to start. The problem here is you will eventually need to find some other means of getting the medicine.

Check out the website for the medicine in question.

A few years ago my doctor wanted me to try Breo (for asthma) for a while to see how it worked for me. He gave me a free sample and told me to check out, and you will find a link to a free offer for free Breo for a year. I took advantage of this. Other pharmaceuticals have similar offers. It’s not a permanent solution, although it should help you for a little while at least.

Seek out alternative medicines.

For many years I was on Advair, although I noted that the cost had gone up, and my insurance company no longer wanted to pay for it. This was when my doctor suggested I try Breo, which was free for a year. I have also tried other similar medicines for free utilizing free samples and pharmaceutical offers. Keep in mind that while these medicines are similar, their chemical compositions are still somewhat different. It’s not like switching to generic medicine, which is the same as the original version.

Ask about generic medicine.

Patents on new medicines last about 20 years. When they expire, it allows other competing pharmaceuticals to produce and sell cheaper versions of the same medicine. Many pharmacies automatically switch you to the generic versions, although it’s still a good idea to ask. Keep in mind generic medicine contains the same ingredients as the patented versions, and they have to meet the same testing criteria, so they should work the same.

Check out websites designed to help.

There are many websites designed by various organizations that are meant to help people afford their medicine. I’m sure there are more out there, although the ones I’m aware of are,,, Partnership for Prescription, and National Conference of State Legislatures. There are also government assistance programs that help if you qualify, such as and

There are many great medicines that can help people with lung diseases breathe easier, although they can be very expensive. Going without the medicines meant to help you breathe is not an option. If you need help, now you have some options worth trying. If you have any tips that might help someone, please let us know in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • carolcole
    1 year ago

    There are a lot of free prescription cards at most doctor office’s. These cards sometimes offer as much as 50 per cent off. You just carry them in your pocket and give them to the pharmacy at the time you pickup your meds. No signing up or monthly payment to make.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi carolecole – that’s a good suggestion. Often times the medical offices do have pharmaceutical discounts available for their patients. If they are not on display, you may want to inquire of the office staff. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • larrytwhite
    2 years ago

    I have looked into help with my inhaler’s but it looks like i have to much income .
    So food or rent become option’s sometimes.

  • carolcole
    1 year ago

    One other possibility would be to find cheaper ways to eat or possibility of a cheaper place to rent. Maybe hud could get you into a cheaper rental and a local church, or food pantry could help some with the food cost if you don’t qualify for food stamps.

  • carolcole
    1 year ago

    have you talked to your dr. about this problem? Will your dr. give you samples? Are you a veteran? All of these are possibilities for you.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    All good suggestions and possibilities, carolcole. We appreciate your input. Warmly, Leon (site moderator)

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    I’m so sorry for that, larrytwhite. It’s horrible to have to make those kinds of choices. I’m sure you’ve done your homework but sometimes it helps to tell your doctor. Often, if they know we can’t afford our medication there is an alternate one that works as well but may be less expensive. It sometimes takes us telling them what our situation is before they consider something like cost.

    I hope you’re able to find other ways to deal with this besides having to choose food, rent, or medicaiton.

    Lyn (moderator)

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