Q. I have reached the donut hole in my Medicare Part D plan and my medications are costing me a fortune. I would like to know what online pharmacies could help me with the cost so I can afford my medications. At this point, I have had to quit taking three of my medications. Can you help me locate a reliable online pharmacy?

A. Not taking prescribed medicines could be dangerous to your health, so we suggest you discuss this problem with your doctor. Ask if your state or county provides assistance for senior citizens who can't afford their drugs.

Another possible option is to ask your doctor to help you apply for financial assistance from the drug manufacturer. You can find out more about these pharmaceutical industry programs at www.helpingpatients.org.

We are sending you our Guide to Saving Money on Medicine, which describes these and other approaches, including guidelines for buying less expensive medicines online.

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  1. Joyce

    Did you fall into the Donut Hole?
    I fell into the donut hole in 2007 but managed to stay out of it in 2008. You can stay out of the donut hole too. Here is how I did it:
    In 2007 I fell into the Medicare D gap or donut hole in May. From then on I had to pay full price for all my prescriptions, name brand drugs and generic drugs. Some people could fall into the donut hole before I did or later in the year, depending on the medication they take and the cost of that medication.
    In 2007 I paid a total of $3,581.68 out of my pocket for all my prescription drugs. That was way too much and so I set about figuring a way to cut my cost for the following year.
    Here is the plan I came up with. I was taking generic medicines whenever possible but some of my medicine did not come in a generic form so I had to get the Brand name drug. Brand name drugs cost so much more and that is the reason I fell into the donut hole. I checked out what each of my brand name drugs cost at full price. Then I checked out that medicine cost through a Canadian drug store. I checked out several Canadian companies to find the one that sold that particular medicine the cheapest. You can find the Canadian drug stores on the Internet by just doing a search for ‘Canadian drugs’.
    I did that with all my brand name medicines. I added up what it would have cost me if I had gotten my brand name medicine all from Canada instead of going through my insurance company. It looked like I would save a lot by doing it this way. So in 2008 that is what I did. All the name brand drugs I needed I ordered from Canada and only got my generic medicine and any medicine that I needed immediately such as antibiotics from my insurance company.
    This year,2008 I am paying an average of only $144.51 a month. I did not stop taking any medications but did get all my name brand medicine from a Canadian drug store. I used 5 different Canadian drug stores as none had the lowest cost for all my prescriptions. I found the cheapest for each of the name brand drugs I take. It does take longer to get the medicine from Canada, four to six week usually. You do have to send in a new prescription from you Doctor. You can either mail it in or fax it to them. They all have toll free phone numbers so that you can call them with any questions you may have.
    Getting you medicine from Canada is completely legal. Drug stores are allowed to ship drugs through the mail.
    In 2008 I stayed out of the
    Donut Hole.

  2. Ed London

    Before the advent of Medicare D I bought all my meds from several Canadian pharmacies. They were prompt, accepted my doctor’s prescriptions, and were identical to US sold products. I used them for several years without a problem.

  3. Susan Scott

    In my city the County Hospital has Satellite Clinics in several neighborhoods that are just like visiting a regular Dr’s office.
    I signed up for one of their health plans, took all of the required info in, and was approved. You are charged by your income.
    Co-pays are 10.00-20.00, prescriptions are 5.00-20.00. It works along with your Medicare and covers presciptions that are not covered by your Part D carrier and covers all presciptions when you reach that dreaded donut hole. It has been a godsend for me.
    Texans living in Dallas County should really utilize the Parkland Healthplus Plan, it is a lifesaver. A lot of people in Dallas County shy away from Parkland because of bad experiences with waiting long periods of time, but the new Parkland is nothing like the Parkland of yesteryear.

  4. ann culley

    Two years ago, when I fell into the donut hole in AUGUST, I made up my mind to find a better way to afford the meds without which I would now be in a wheelchair and on oxygen 24/7. I have COPD. I depend upon Spiriva and Foradil for the air I breathe. USDA-approval of these meds + profiteering by Big Pharma (they claim there are no generics) makes them cost about $260/month, or 1/4 of my SS check. I also must take other costly meds for hypertension.
    Just couldn’t afford to “Buy American.” I now receive my generic Foradil and Spiriva from AllDayChemist in India for $13.50 and $10.00, respectively–$23.50/mo. Foratec and Tiova are generic meds available on line from ADC and for me are equally as effective as the US products. Not only do I stay out of the donut hole, but I’m also mobile and active, thanks to ADC.

  5. Bob Young

    Several pharmacies (WalMart is one of them) are now offering $4.00 generics of 300+ drugs. They will provide you with a list or you can download it from the Internet. Take it to your doctor and see if there are any you can use. Then check the $4.00 pricing against the total of your co-pay AND the portion Part D is paying. If less, exclude the(se) drug(s) from your Medicare Part D program altogether and purchase them yourself. Not only will you save out-of-pocket expenses, these drugs will not count towards the “donut hole.” You will then have more Part D dollars for other needed drugs.

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