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See Jill Save: You can save on prescription medications

Holiday bills are coming your way and the end of your insurance calendar year is fast approaching. Or you may have flexible-spending account dollars you need to use or risk losing before the end of the year.

Here are some ways you can save on prescriptions.

- Ask for samples from your doctor, especially if you are worried about side effects or if a medication will agree with you. I have learned this the hard way. After paying to fill two prescriptions, I found out I was allergic to the medications.

- Some prescription medications are now offering coupons and rebates. I realized this when I had two medications from the dermatologist prescribed. Ask your doctor or nurse or pharmacist and check the drug's Web site. Also check these sites: mydrugrebate.com and findadermatologist.com/prescription_coupons_rebates.html

- Growing up and even now, it seems someone in my family always gets sick around the holidays. Publix Pharmacy offers free oral antibiotics, up to a 14-day supply: publix.com/wellness/pharmacy/Home.do

More drugs are becoming available over the counter or generic equivalents now exist. According to the Publix site these generic drugs are expected to be available soon: Valacyclovir (Valtrex); Buprenorphine (Subutex) and Lansoprazole (Prevacid) and Brimonidine (Alphagan).

- By now you probably know that Walmart offers $4 prescriptions or a 90-day supply for $10, and Target, among others, has followed suit. There are drugs for a variety of common conditions, and even a birth control pill. See complete lists of included medications: i.walmartimages.com/i/if/hmp/fusion/customer_list.pdf and sites.target.com/site/en/health/generic_drugs.jsp

- Two places that have saved me money on my brand of contact lenses are Contact Lens King and Vision Direct.

I found them to be cheaper than anywhere I looked. I usually order just a couple of boxes at a time. You may be able to save more elsewhere if you order a year's supply and take advantage of rebates, but I have had my prescription change in the middle of the year, so I prefer to order smaller amounts.

Depending on your brand of contacts, these sites may help you save. They also sometimes offer extra new customer discounts and coupon codes and free shipping. Always search for online coupon codes, wherever you order.

Look at: contactlensking.com, (800) 352-0255; and visiondirect.com, (800) 847-4663

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